SMASHED windows, broken doors, and rising damp are among the string of complaints made by angry residents who say their rundown council flats have been neglected for years.

Tenants of four blocks of council flats, in Church Parade, Canvey, are fed up with the poor condition of the buildings and the lack of maintenance work being carried out, despite numerous appeals to the coun-cil for something to be done.

In some cases, residents have carried out their own makeshift repairs, placing wooden boards over broken front doors, and taping over shattered windows.

It comes as the council revealed it had spent £200,000 less than it had budgeted for on housing maintenance last year.

Maxine Buckingham, 48, who has lived in the flats for 20 years, said: “The conditions here are absolutely terrible, “I feel like I am living in a slum. At one point the weeds were 8ft high before the council did anything, and that was way back in June.

“Although the inside of my flat is nice, I do not want people to come and see where I live. It is filthy.”

Residents claim that over the summer, the flats were overrun by earwigs because of the dampness of the walls.

Sophie Chowdhury, 31, said: “Throughout the whole summer we had earwigs crawling through our windows. If the council maintained the outside of the building, this would not happen.

“The council recently paid a company to come and sort out the satellite dishes, but when it comes to someone coming round to do basic regular maintenance, they do not want to know.”

Canvey Island independent councillor Dave Blackwell, said: “The council has a duty of care to residents, and the fact that there was an underspend last year and these flats have been deteriorating is terrible.

“Tenants start to think they are being treated as second class citizens. The council officers would not want to live like this themselves.”

In early 2008 council residents on Canvey voted overwhelmingly against council properties being taken over by housing association Swan Housing.

Mr Blackwell said: “I have had so many residents tell me they feel like they are being punished through lack of maintenance for voting against the housing association.”

Castle Point Council will be conducting a maintenance check on all council housing, but it is not expected to be completed until March 2012.

Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of Castle Point Council and councillor responsible for finance, said: “The law says the council cannot put its own money into maintaining homes, it has to come from the money acquired from tenants.

“We have a scheduled repair programme for planned repairs and a large pot of money for emergencies. From what we can see, money is not the problem.

“The standard of our homes in the majority of Castle Point is decent. The number of homes in a decent condition in Castle Point is one of the highest in the county. Our homes are generally not in a bad state of repair, but we hope we can get things fixed as soon as we can.”