DEVELOPERS of a controversial Christchurch development involved in the Druitt Gardens tree felling have spoken of the abuse suffered by staff.

Construction workers at the Cornfactor site in Christchurch say they have been subjected to verbal abuse, confrontation and even had dog mess thrown at them since work started on the town centre site.

The development to build 26 new retirement apartments behind the high street has proved one of the most contentious issues in the town in years.

Objections were made over the development demolishing a historical building with ongoing issues over protected trees being felled only worsening the situation.

Kennedy Bevis, contracts manager at The Hackwood Group, who are overseeing the construction project, said: “Apart from all the abuse we’ve suffered, we’ve even had to stop a member of the public threatening to throw himself under a concrete lorry to prevent a delivery to site.

“We have had to put up with a lot over the last six months. It’s the small minority but it’s been very unpleasant for everyone who works here.

“What they don’t realise is that most of the lads we employ are local who just come to work to do their job and then go home to their families.

“They don’t deserve the abuse they are getting.”

Robert Taylor, pictured left, managing director at Renaissance Retirement, said the development would create new jobs for local people and ‘help boost the local economy’.

“We take the preservation of local heritage very seriously at all of our sites and we work hard to ensure that as far as possible our builds are sympathetic with local landscape and heritage,” he said.

“The majority of people of Christchurch want us here and the old Cornfactor building re-developed. We know this because we have had so much positive feedback from local people.”

He added: “People have to remember that the site has been sitting there for over 30 years – completely under-utilised.

“We have a superb vision for the development which will link the high street with Druitt Gardens.

“We have agreed to make £50,000 of enhancements to Druitt Gardens to help make it a wonderful place to spend time.

“This all must be good news for the area.”