LOCALS living near the huge new £87million EastEnders set have hit out at BBC bosses after learning they will have to endure five more years of construction “hell”.
Some say the “diabolical” building work has left cracks in their walls and ceilings from heavy machinery shaking the ground.
Diggers and drills are being used between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and even on Saturday mornings, residents told the Daily Mail.
The work at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Herts, was unveiled in 2015 and was due for completion in August this year.
Last October internal emails confirmed that the massive revamp – just yards from the old Albert Square set – would overrun.
But many residents claim they were kept in the dark about the lengthy delay until it was revealed this week.
Hugo Duckworth, 62, who has lived in the area for 30 years, told the paper: “It’s diabolical. The noise is thumping away and it’s cracked my ceilings.
“It’s like they’re saying: ‘We’re the BBC and we don’t give a s***.’”
Zeina Eboe, 39, said: “It’s very bad – not finishing until 2023 is ridiculous.
“It’s been hell – the bedroom was shaking, books were falling off the shelves.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work, I was driven out of my home during the day.
“In the end I had to move and I now live in a quiet development nearby.”
The BBC said: “We are extremely mindful of the neighbouring properties and have ensured residents are regularly updated.
“We keep all out-of-hours work to an absolute minimum.”
A spokesman added that work only took place on Saturday on one occasion since the latest round of construction began in September.
The delays to the new HD-ready set – dubbed E20 – have added £27million to the initial £59.7million estimated cost – paid for with licence fee payers’ cash.
A damning National Audit Office report revealed poor planning and lack of expertise were partly to blame for the rising building bill.
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The report said: “As the (EastEnders) Front Lot construction only started in October 2018 and the Back Lot is at an early design stage, it is not yet possible to conclude on the value for money of the latest programme plan.”
Yesterday the BBC admitted that contractors finding asbestos and a disused concrete oil tank added to delays.
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts committee, slammed the spending.
She said: “It is concerning that the BBC has been unable to keep to budget and time on this project again, given my committee had already heard about the need to revise its scope in 2016.”