TEMPERS flared near a notorious traveller site after asphalting work blocked a road for more than two hours.

A homeowner in Hovefields Avenue, Wickford, arranged the asphalting of the private road, which other residents claim stopped them getting in or out.

Furious neighbours claim they were then asked to contribute to the cost of the “unannounced”

work by a traveller from a legal mobile home pitch.

Jenny Mace, of Hovefields Drive, Wickford, said she was stuck in hot weather with defrosting freezer food as she tried to return home from the supermarket.

She said: “I was bringing it back at 4pm and the asphalt machine was completely blocking access.I was furious, but the contractors said they had been told to do it and were just laughing at us.I had to delay my mum’s carer because they could not get in. She is 85, very poorly.

Then the man who commissioned the work asked us to pay, but he didn’t even notify us it was going ahead.”

Police were called, but during their visit they told residents there was nothing to be done as Hovefields Avenue is a private road.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police were called just before 5pm following reports the road was blocked by workmen. A resident was concerned vehicles would not be able to access the road.

“Officers attended the scene and were informed that contractors had been asked by other residents to tarmac the road and install speed humps.”

The Hovefields area has around 16 authorised traveller pitches in the avenue and a small number of unauthorised ones off Hovefields Drive as well as a number of residents’ houses.

About 20 illegal plots were demolished by Basildon Council between 2005 and 2010.

A council spokesman said, by law, there was no requirement to advertise work on private roads, but it was good practice and two complaints had been received.

A traveller in the avenue, who would not be named, said: “People were told the work was going ahead, but they just don’t like us and use any excuse to kick up a stink. They never do anything to the road and people could squeeze past. At the end of the day, they are complaining about having a nice new surface.”