At first I tried my best to ignore their work, but it was incredibly disruptive from the start (Photo: Getty Images)

Over the past eight months, my mental health has slowly crumbled.

My neighbor’s extension has disrupted all of my routines, from waking up my one-year-old to forcing me to abandon work and social plans.

The constant fear of not knowing what will happen next makes me feel like myself anxiousand sometimes paranoid.

My pleas to the neighbors did not lead to anything, and during night feedings I often cry with the baby.

I found out about my neighbor’s expansion plans as soon as I moved into my house with my boyfriend in April 2021. I did not object planning permission because I believe that it is normal to renovate your property – especially since we are no strangers to renovation work on our own.

I really regret it now.

Our house is old and damp, so we re-stitched the walls, put on a new roof, replaced the plaster and did some plumbing and electrical repairs. It was a little disruptive, but each job took anywhere from a few hours, a few days to a couple of weeks over the course of seven months with a few weeks between jobs.

I informed my neighbors regularly but they said they don’t mind as they both work full time.

They later said they had been carrying out some work and told us they were applying for planning permission but the document only said they were putting in a porch and side extension.

Naturally it didn’t mention a full refurbishment as it’s a permitted development so their plans didn’t look like a big deal – then I got word from them that they were starting in the first week of January and that was it.

I feel so stupid now that I even bought them wine and baked them banana bread when we were done while they stayed with their parents and left us to deal with the consequences.

The stress of not knowing what was happening and when it would end was overwhelming

At first I tried my best to ignore their work, but it was incredibly disruptive from the start; creating dust, noise, litter and various trespassers on our property, as well as permanently blocking the common entrance leading to our private. It was hell.

Labor started when my baby was four months old and the stress of not knowing what was going on and when it would be over was overwhelming.

The problem came four months later when my neighbor texted me asking me to attach their extension to my front wall and I said no. She looked annoyed as she immediately texted back and stopped being friendly, but we had no reason to give them part of our home. I didn’t want to be responsible for their construction work or create problems selling my house in the future.

The next day I was shocked to see a two meter hole in the side of my property exposing its foundation. Part of my garden wall was also knocked down when a builders van backed into my driveway, narrowly hitting my boyfriend’s parked car.

I had enough. I texted my neighbor to let her know that we do not want our property excavated without our permission or legal agreement. She sent her father who argued with me for an hour while my child cried.

He said it doesn’t matter what they do or how long it takes because they have a building permit. I felt so small and humiliated.

I managed to calm him down by saying that I was concerned about my own property, that I really didn’t care what they did otherwise, but no resolution was reached.

The hole was there for six weeks and I felt sick every time I saw it as it was a constant reminder of how little they cared about our property and our lives. To check for subsidence, when the ground is not firm enough to build on, they constantly flooded it with water and soaked my wall in the very spot where we had just recently done the damp.

Luckily my child was too young to walk as the muddy pit filled with metal spikes was a serious hazard.

As I opened my front door every morning, I was faced with construction workers standing across my driveway claustrophobic feelings ate me up.

I was afraid to leave the house as a new mother because I felt sad for the construction workers who would watch me try to drive past them with a pram. It felt like someone had parked meters from my front door, and in my driveway, watching – but I didn’t have the strength to argue.

The problems were so obvious that another neighbor saw me looking stressed trying to get out of the house, so she often came to check on me and the baby. I didn’t tell her how worried I was, but somehow she knew.

I love my house, but now I don’t want to live here anymore and I regret trying to be nice

Now, due to the unpredictable nature of the noise from the drilling and impact, it is difficult for my child to sleep. It also greatly influenced my work as I do work from home and I can’t record interviews, make videos or even talk on the phone without interruption.

I also can’t have friends and family because it’s noisy. I have never felt more alone or isolated. They work all day every day as well as deliver materials and skips.

After one of the construction workers threw his chewed sandwiches and cigarette butts outside my door, blocking me with his van, I texted my neighbor again, letting her know about the problems. I reminded her to send a legal agreement for liability for any damage to my property while working on the border wall after waiting for it for two months.

She responded by telling me to never talk to her again, which made me feel bad mocked and how any relationship we might have had was ruined. Instead, I spoke to her husband, who said he didn’t think they needed a permit to build on our border, and that he didn’t see a problem since we’d done the work, too. Although he promised they would try to be less disruptive, nothing changed.

I recently had to stop a builder knocking down my front wall because he thought it was theirs and wanted to jump in to do some more digging.

Unfortunately, legal advice alone is expensive and time-consuming. I haven’t done any of these steps yet because I’m too exhausted from work and being a new mom. I can’t afford that either.

In spite of everything, I’m lucky because I can usually get away for a few hours, whether it’s a long walk or a car ride, if I have gas money.

For the elderly and disabled, being trapped in your home during construction work must be absolute hell.

While I won’t be putting signs on my windows to humiliate my neighbors, this has all made me more cynical. It is now October, and there is no end in sight.

They recently tore down a hedge on someone else’s land and had to stop building on it and cut down some trees and bushes in a public park to accommodate their patio.

Even though I had the worst of it, since my house is connected to their house, they don’t seem to have much respect for anyone.

I love my house, but now I don’t want to live here anymore and I regret trying to be nice. Now I’m afraid they’ll come back – we’re unlikely to ever speak again unless we have to, which will be awkward as we’re traveling together and can’t avoid each other.

If I had to move again, I would be as concerned about the people living next door as I am about the property itself.

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My neighbour’s construction work is driving me mad – what do I do?