Squatters have taken over several brand new homes after a bizarre legal ruling banned residents from moving into their own properties.
A bitter row over an access road means family homes, which have already been bought, are still unoccupied until the issue is resolved.
People already living on the Yew Tree Hill estate say the delay has allowed squatters to break into the new homes which range from £200,000 to more than £300,000.
Developers Persimmon and Redrow are jointly building 500 properties on land on the outskirts of Droitwich, Worcs.
A 500-home development is being built on the outskirts of Droitwich in Worcestershire
Planners initially agreed for 188 finished properties to be occupied before an access road on the A38 leading to the estate was completed
But after this number was reached, the council became concerned the roadworks were not on track to be completed, so it took the developers to court
The dispute between the developers and Wychavon District Council erupted last February which residents say created a ‘window of opportunity’ for squatters.
Planners initially agreed for 188 finished properties to be occupied before an access road on the A38 leading to the estate was completed.
But after this number was reached, the council became concerned the roadworks were not on track to be finished properly so it took the developers to court.
The council secured an injunction banning any more people moving into the properties until the access road was widened.
As a result, residents on the estate say no new homes have been built for months while the completed properties have become a magnet for squatters.
This unfinished access road is at the heart of the legal dispute but the delays have had unintended consequences
Residents on the new estate say squatters and ‘undesirables’ have taken advantage of the opportunity to move in
One resident said: ‘Vans have turned up with people trying to break down fencing and get inside to try and take whatever they can’
Retired police officer Mark Naylor, 52, who moved into one of the first homes with wife Dawn, 51, in December 2017, said: ‘There has been crime on the estate with people breaking into unoccupied houses.
‘Vans have turned up with people trying to break down fencing and get inside to try and take whatever they can.
‘Homeless people are sleeping rough in the houses.
‘I believe the developers have sealed off the completed houses and they aren’t building anymore but some are still for sale.
‘I do feel sorry for people who have put down deposits but can’t move in.
‘Some of them, I know, have had to move in with their parents, having already sold their previous home. They have nowhere else to live.
‘There are around 20 or so houses which have either been finished or reserved which are lying empty.
‘Persimmon are happy for the residents to just soldier on.’
Another resident living in the finished side of the development added: ‘It’s a nightmare.
‘The estate is being overrun with squatters and gangs targeting the empty houses.
‘Sometimes at night you can hear them trying to snap the locks on the fences around the empty houses and sometimes the sound of glass breaking.
Retired police officer Mark Naylor, 52, said: ‘It must be torture knowing you’re dream home is being abused by squatters and rough sleepers while you’re powerless to do anything to stop it’
‘These homes are brand new and families are waiting to move in.
‘It must be torture knowing your dream home is being abused by squatters and rough sleepers while you’re powerless to do anything to stop it.
‘It’s not right. The developers aren’t interested and the people who already live here and those waiting to move in have been hung out to dry.
‘These squatters and undesirables have exploited the window of opportunity created by the legal row.
‘The developers are digging their heels in over the access road and the council won’t budge. It’s a stalemate with the residents stuck in the middle.’
Cllr Richard Morris, who represents Droitwich South East on Wychavon District Council, said: ‘This development is still an issue of significant concern for residents.
‘It remains vitally important that infrastructure is put in place at the right time to support the occupation of built homes.’
A spokesperson for Persimmon said: ‘We remain committed to building a development of new homes.’