BUILDING work outside cottages has made the area a “death trap” for children, according to residents.

An investigation has been launched after builders dug up a path inches from the front doors of family cottages.

Large holes dug near garden gates are making it difficult for families to leave the fronts of their homes after permission was granted for five new cottages at the end of North Shoebury Road, Shoebury.

Residents living in 12 cottages, having been defeated after objecting to the development, claim building work is breaching the planning conditions.

Tonia Mobbs, 47, who lives in one of the cottages with her husband Andrew, 44, and their three young children, aged, 17 months, four and six, said a board is being put across to help them out.

She said: “It’s not easy getting three children out the house and one in a buggy as it is.

“I’m terrified that if one of the children were to run out they would fall down the hole or hurt themselves.

“My son is quite excited by the digger so the last thing I want is him trying to go and have a look.

“Another huge worry is the fact the digger is swinging around so close to our home - all the builders have hard hats on and steel toe cap boots, as that is what is required to be allowed on a building site, yet we are living on one, and we have no protective gear on.

Husband Andrew added: “I cant believe the council has given permission for this work to be done so close to our houses. The situation is now a death trap.

“If one of my kids runs out past their own front gate they could be in serious trouble and I’m worried and scared for my family’s safety.”

Southend Council rejected the application but the developers won after an appeal to the planning inspectorate.

Speaking previously, director of Dantel Construction Limited, Tyrone Callaghan, claimed the access to the pathway would not be impeded.

Residents claim that is not the case and have complained to Southend Council.

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “We have received an alleged breach of planning controls and we will be investigating accordingly.”