RESIDENTS fuming over nuisance roadworks on their street have said it's impossible to park anywhere and branded it a "warzone".
Locals claim that their road has been turned into a series of six-foot deep trenches with their houses vibrating.
They face up to 18 months of disruption as Severn Trent Water replace the network of 100-year-old lead piping underneath them.
And, for some, the thought of spending Christmas with roads closed, nowhere to park and trenches all around them is just too much to bear.
Matt Smith, 37, said: "It was three weeks ago that the house started vibrating.
"It did feel a bit like a war zone with the noise and the effect it had on the house.
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"It should be coming to an end now but as you can see it is a long way from ending."
Severn Trent admit they are already two weeks behind schedule after encountering "hard rock" in their efforts to upgrade the pipework in the Tunstall area of Stoke.
But for residents, that is simply prolonging the agony.
"This drilling is something else," added Matt, an IT engineer.
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"We had a letter saying there might be some trouble getting to the property but I did not imagine anything like this.
"There is nowhere for my partner to park her car. She is having to put it hundreds of yards from the house in a place where she actually needs a permit to park. It’s horrendous."
Pot maker Andrew McGough, 60, was equally unimpressed.
He said: "It’s ridiculous. There are four roads closed and they were closed for four days before they even started.
"Why can’t they do one bit, tarmac it over and move onto the next bit? That way people could still get about their business.
"It’s an absolute joke. We have just had all the pavements dug up for months by the cable companies and now this. Why can’t they work together?"
'DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS'
Residents on May Avenue have been told not to leave their cars on the road between 7am and 5pm.
And those failing to comply are issued with a warning ticket.
Alyssa Speakman, 18, a student nurse who lives with her parents, had a warning ticket on her car, parked yards from her home.
She said: "It’s making life very difficult and it’s dangerous when the kids come out of school and start running about. There’s a lot of deep trenches.
"My car has a ticket on it but I don’t know where I can park that is not miles from the house or somewhere I need a permit.
"If it is still here at Christmas I don’t know where our visitors will park."
They are trembling at the thought of the trenches coming their way on St Chad’s Road, next on Severn Trent Water’s fix it list.
'DRIVING US INSANE'
They are already struggling with the road closures, especially John Coles, 75, who drives in and out of the road up to eight times a day taking his wife Caroline to her two jobs.
John said: "It is driving us insane already. There is now only one road to enter or leave the estate and it has cars parked on either side and you can’t pass.
"We have to turn off that one to reach our home and they have only left a tiny gap to allow us access. They are saying they are going to be around this area for another year. We’ll all be barmy by then."
His wife Caroline, 60, added: "We are already having to leave 20 minutes earlier to get to my cleaning job and it will be worse when they close this.
"You can barely get out onto King William Street and then when you finally reach the main road there are a set of temporary traffic lights for something else.
"I know it has to be done but do they have to do it all at once."
Their neighbour Reg Alcock, 86, a retired haulage contractor, said: "It’s a pain in the a***. They said they would be here for 22 days. They have been here for 21 now and they haven’t even started on our road.
"I’m lucky because I have a garage at the back but I am the only one who does. I don’t know what my neighbours will do. At this rate they won’t be here until after Christmas."
But some were relieved to see the work finally taking place and by the sight of the large plastic pipes that will replace the lead ones put down when the houses were all built in the 1930s.
Company director Michael Owen, 66, said: "The Water Board have had to dig up this road 10 or 20 times to deal with the leaks from the old led pipes. It effects people’s water pressure and nobody wants a problem with their water pressure.
"This work needs to be done. It will make life better. We just have to be patient."
And John Kyle, 73, a retired HGV driver, was more forgiving of the water company but could see another problem coming their way.
He said: "They did inform us all in plenty of time and we have no choice in the matter because it is something that needs doing.
"The old pipes on this road cause all sorts of problems and we will all be better off when they are replaced.
"But when they are done the road surface is going to look like a patchwork quilt with all the work round here and I wonder if the Council will come along and resurface it."
A Severn Trent spokeswoman said: "The pipe replacement works that we're currently delivering in Stoke on Trent are essential improvements to our infrastructure.
"It is part of the £650million we are investing to ensure our network is in the best possible position to meet the demands of climate change and a growing population.
"We know that road works can be inconvenient, and we do everything that we can to minimise the disruption that they cause to the communities.
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"They're in place to protect workers and road users, whilst carrying out complex work, which can often include deep excavations."
They spokesperson apologised to residents for any "disruption or inconvenience" caused by the work and said they are working to complete them as soon as possible.
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