LOCALS living near a neglected newbuild estate say they feel like they're living in a prison.

The Hetton-le-Hole residents say that's because they spend their days staring at the "eyesore" housing site and its towering fences – and then it keeps them awake at night.

Social housing provider Gentoo was granted planning permission to build the 86-home site on fields in January 2022.

Works started on Sunderland's Eskdene Rise estate last year, but construction was quickly halted when building firm Tolent went into administration in February.

Now those who live near the empty site are demanding answers on what the future holds for it.

The locals not only fear they'll be living next to a construction site forever, but their sleep will keep being disrupted by the nightly security guard's radio and car engine.

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Hetton Town councillor Lynsey Gibson, who lives nearby with her partner Glenn and their three children, said the locals were fed up with the site.

She said: "Since work stopped, we have been left with an eyesore. Residents are left looking at hoarding boards in a prison-like environment.

"After I complained about the noise from the security guard, I was told this will be changing to an occasional guard, but I am concerned about the noise from metal gates opening during the night."

Lynsey claimed "nothing has happened" on the site since works stopped in February.

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She said the neighbourhood is now calling for answers, adding: "I think it's about time someone from Gentoo told us what was going on and what the plan is, especially how long we are going to have to be tortured by this eyesore.

"Everytime it's windy, the hoardings are rattling and keeping us awake. Enough is enough."

Neighbour Shirley Tiernan said she was sick of looking at the site, too.

The mum, who lives with her 16-year-old son, said: "We used to have a lovely view before and now we are stuck with this eyesore.

"We don't know what's going on because Gentoo don't tell us and we have been left looking at a dangerous building site."

Gentoo said it was doing all it could get work started again on the site – and understood locals' concerns.

A spokesman told The Sun: "Eskdene Rise is an affordable housing development which, when complete, will feature 86 new properties, including two, three and four-bedroom houses, two-bedroom bungalows and two-bedroom apartments.

"These properties will be available for a mix of affordable rent, Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy.

We don't know what's going on because Gentoo don't tell us and we have been left looking at a dangerous building site.

"With 30,000 people currently on our waiting list, the need to build more quality, affordable housing that benefit our communities has never been greater.

"Gentoo is committed to delivering on this, not just at Eskdene Rise but at a number of sites across Sunderland.

"We completely understand residents living near the Eskdene Rise site are frustrated that work has stopped on the site and we fully share those frustrations.

"Unfortunately, this was due to circumstances beyond our control, with on-site partner Tolent going into administration in February.

"But residents can be assured that Gentoo is doing everything it can to find a new partner and those discussions are ongoing.

"We are committed to keeping residents updated and as soon as we have an update we will share it with them. In the meantime, residents can contact us at any time with any questions they may have."

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He continued: "With regards to the site appearance, it is currently surrounded by branded hoarding boards. We fully understand that residents may not like looking at these but they are necessary to secure the site and keep it safe.

"Residents will not be looking at the site as it is forever more. It is still Gentoo’s aim to appoint a new partner to deliver these affordable homes and resume work as soon as is possible and we will be keeping residents updated on any developments."

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