Neighbours living near a building site are hoping for their first Christmas in years without the noise of drilling and building.

For the past three years households in Bertram Street, Highgate Newtown, have had to deal with the sound of heavy construction work from a Camden Council construction project.

Work on a block of flats began in 2021 and was only finished this month. But although there will be a two-week break for Christmas, the disruption is not over.

Tim Steele, who lives in Bertram Street, told the Ham&High on Monday (December 18): "It’s nearly Christmas, and is the third Christmas in a row that this street has been a building site and a tip.

"People here are absolutely sick to the back teeth and this can’t go on until Christmas Eve, it's not fair, it’s just appalling the mess here."

The scheme to build 21 flats to help pay for a community centre was commissioned in 2017 but later expanded to 41 flats to ensure there would be enough money, despite anger over the building's height.

After demolition in summer 2020, construction started in 2021.

The father-of-two said locals have endured noise from 8pm to 5pm on weekdays and 8pm to 1pm on Saturdays, with construction vehicles thundering down nearby Chester Road.

In February the council bought back the flats to house families who helped the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan, leading to more work as the building was reconfigured to 36 larger flats.

Tim said the community centre was “still a complete shell,” and with work due to start again in January, it was "technically still a building site".

He added: "It's been horrendous for all of us. I've been traumatised by the noise. I've had to listen to noise and disruption of walls being built only for Camden to come in afterwards, knock them down and replace them. That all took extra time.

"Chester Road and Bertram Street needs a break." 

More recently broken cobbles had to be replaced, causing more noise.

Neighbour Catharine Wells said that residents and businesses have been concerned for months at the long overrun.

She added:  "Bertram Street is a mess. The residents here, and surrounding, are beyond exhausted and stressed."

A spokesperson for Camden Council said the project will be completed in 2024 and will provide "a whole range of services" for the community, including a youth centre, sports centre and café.

They said the Covid-19 pandemic "created unprecedented challenges and delays in the construction industry".

Acknowledging that building new facilities and housing does come with "challenging" noise and impacts, they added: "This is why we have a construction management plan in place to ensure that any impact on the local community is kept to an absolute minimum.

"This includes strict procedures on working hours, traffic to the site, and checks on noise and dust, all of which are monitored closely."