BUILDERS have been blamed for clogging up a street and causing chaos for residents and shoppers.

The builders are parking their vans along Rectory Grove, in Leigh, where they are redeveloping the former Cliffsea Cars showroom into a four-storey block of nine flats with shops underneath.

The work started a year ago, but residents say the number of vans parking in the street has been growing in recent weeks.

Caroline Parker, a Leigh town councillor, said: “Residents complained to me about the situation as there are usually about eight to ten vans parked there that are associated with the work, and I counted 14 on one occasion.

“They are taking up parking bays which shoppers use and they have cordoned off parts of the road at times, which leads to traffic as cars have to squeeze through.”

Martyn Titchen, who runs Reliance Coaches of Benfleet, said his drivers had been delayed on occasions because vans connected to the development had been hindering traffic.

Susan Croud, who owns the Champagne accessory shop in the road, said: “I counted 11 vans last week. I can’t see how that many is necessary. It seems excessive and customers have mentioned they haven’t been able to park.”

A spokesman for the contractor, RJ Hill, of Benfleet, disputed the number of vans parked in the street.

He said: “We are thankful for the co-operation of the people who have used the road in what has been a difficult situation in terms of parking. Thankfully, things are nearing completion with only a few weeks to go.

“What we are doing down the road is with the permission of Southend Council, which has allowed us to have different parking arrangements.”

A council spokesman said the builders had initially been given special dispensation to park vans without restriction when the work started, but the vans were now subject to the same one-hour maximum stay as everyone else.

Resurfacing work has been carried out in the road recently, but the council has been unable to repaint lines for the parking bays due to the traffic problem.

A council spokesman added: “We have had complaints about vans not adhering to the restrictions and have increased patrols.

“Vans have also been ticketed there on a number of occasions.”