RESIDENTS of a Wokingham street are calling on the council to take action over derelict garages that they say are causing the value of their properties to drop by thousands of pounds.
They also claim that the garages are riddled with asbestos, causing health problems and leading to fly-tipping and rat issues.
They want Wokingham Borough Council to demolish the decaying buildings in Tanhouse Lane and have launched a petition setting out their aims.
Embrook Liberal Democrat councillor Rachel Bishop-Firth said she has been working with the residents on the petition, which has already attracted almost 50 signatures.
In a statement, she said: “These buildings were built using asbestos and they’re falling down. Neighbours are very concerned about the effect on themselves and their children.
“They are reporting problems with asthma and chest infections which they did not suffer from before moving into the road.
“There are very small children living within metres of the garages.
Residents are also reporting a vermin problem, which the owner has not dealt with, and the neglected site has been attracting fly tipping.
“The rats, rubbish and health concerns are making residents’ lives a misery.”
The petition has four points: it notes that there are health risks due to the roof collapsing, that the “value of the respective properties has been devalued by tens of thousands of pounds” due to the garages being an eyesore; fencing around the garages had led to an increase in rats and weeds; while the area had become a dumping ground for fly-tipping “who come use the property as a skip”.
It also mentions the site’s owners desire to build six houses on the land: “Those garages were originally allocated for the houses in Tanhouse Lane, trying to build more would be an absolute disaster for the current residents”.
The petition also urges Wokingham Borough Council to take action over parking in the street, calling for it to be added to the residents’ permit scheme.
“Parking is a massive problem for all residents … Tanhouse Lane is the first street from the train station without residents’ only permit, this creates a massive havoc,” it notes, adding that the all-day parking has, on several occasions, preventing the refuse trucks from reaching the end of the street.
“Emergency vehicles would not be able to reach the end of the street under those circumstances,” it notes.
Cllr Rachel Bishop-Firth added: “I called Berkshire Developments, who told me that they are acting for the owner.
“I have asked them to demolish the garages to make the area safe for residents. I am now waiting for an answer from them.
“Residents tell me that they would happily rent or buy the spaces for parking from the landowner.”
The petition is planned to be presented to a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council on Thursday, July 18.