ANGRY parents say children are risking their lives due to a housing development which is forcing youngsters to walk on to a busy main road to avoid parked cars.
The controversial Redrow development Heath-fields in Caughall Road in Upton has been the subject of a number of complaints from residents since work on it began months ago.
Although many of the houses have now been built, trucks, vans and cars using the site have been blocking the pavement on one side of Caughall Road, which is used by dozens of children going to and from Upton schools every day.
Linda Green, of Alwyn Gardens, said her 11-year-old daughter was told off by people working on the site when she was walking to school on Monday morning.
'As she was approaching the development, she was told off for using the pavement and had to walk into the road to get around the parked vehicles,' said Mrs Green.
'It turns out there was a Footpath Closed sign the other side of the parked cars which could only be seen from one direction. But they shouldn't be closing off the pavement anyway.'
Elaine McCormick, of Caughall Road, rang the site manager to complain after her 11-year-old son was also forced to walk into the road to avoid the parked cars.
She has also contacted the police and Cheshire County Council's highways department about the matter.
Mrs McCormick said: 'I have now decided it is too dangerous to allow my son to walk to school by himself until this problem is sorted out.'
Back in February, residents also complained about Redrow vehicles blocking the roads and wrecking grass verges near Heathfields and said construction workers had been rude to them.
Barbara Newman, who has lived on Caughall Road for 37 years, said at the time: 'I saw an elderly man pushing a woman in a wheelchair along the road recently. They just couldn't do it, the footpath was blocked.' The proposals to build the development of 20 houses on the built-up road caused uproar in 2002.
Residents feared the mini-estate would cause the already creaking sewer networks in the area to break down.
Despite their worries about increased traffic and the dangers for children walking to nearby schools, Redrow was granted planning permission.
Residents were further dismayed when the company bought a neighbouring property at 14 Caughall Road and, on November 20 last year, Chester City Council granted Gresty Developments permission to build four homes on the site.
Former Upton parish councillor and Labour party campaigner Brenda Southward said: 'This is going to be an ongoing thing now they have moved on to number 14 and I reckon they will do the same with the house next door eventually and end up building right the way along the road.
'Before long, there is going to be an accident - there are near misses there all the time and the residents of Caughall Road are always ringing up about one problem or another.
'I live in Brooke Avenue which backs on to the site and they start so early in the morning with reversing horns sounding and workmen shouting and swearing so it must be even worse for people living on Caughall Road.'
A spokesman for Redrow Homes (North West) said: 'We understand the concerns of local residents and we are doing everything reasonable to ensure that paths and pavements remain clear for pedestrians.
'We have reiterated to our sub-contractors and suppliers the importance of parking safely.'
The spokesman added that Redrow hopes to complete the development towards next spring.
CHESTER police say Redrow has no right to block the footpath in Caughall Road.
Chris Burnham, who handles traffic management for the Chester and Ellesmere Port division of Cheshire Constabulary, said he has spoken to the new site manager at Heathfields and would be meeting him to sort out the situation.
'It is totally unacceptable to have vehicles parked on the pavement or to block the pavement in any way that forces pedestrians to walk out into the road.
'The only way a pavement can be blocked is by prior arrangement and then provision has to be made to enable pedestrians to get past safely.
'It is true a lot of the problems at developments like this are caused by sub-contractors coming to the site so it is not always Redrow.'