A WIDOW who lives next to the Air Balloon roundabout near Birdlip has called for urgent action after enduring sleepless nights due to drilling, flashing lights and roads works.

Myra Sefton, aged 81, lives in a cottage opposite the building site where the old Air Balloon Pub used to stand so is surrounded by bulldozers, rubble and workmen working on the A417 Missing Link Project on a day-to-day basis.

The retired shop worker said before Christmas she decided to leave her house in the middle of the night because she couldn't bear the noise any longer.

She drove to a nearby layby and stayed in her car with a hot water bottle until the drilling finally stopped. 

Swindon Advertiser: Air Balloon Cottage Air Balloon Cottage (Image: Camilla Foster)

When she first moved into the property nearly four decades ago she was warned that her house might be knocked down to make way for the new road.

However, just months before the work started on the Missing Link Project, National Highways told her that her house wasn't going to be bulldozed.

All the other houses and buildings along the road have been knocked down or remain empty, so she said she is the only one who has to endure the constant disruption.

National Highways are supposed to book her into a hotel during night work but often get the dates wrong.

She told the Standard that she feels helpless and wishes National Highways could provide longer term accommodation for her.

Swindon Advertiser: The building site opposite Myra's cottage where the old Air Balloon Inn used to beThe building site opposite Myra's cottage where the old Air Balloon Inn used to be (Image: Camilla Foster)

Mrs Sefton said: "One night they were out there with their drills and flashing lights and I couldn't stand it any longer.

"When I went out to speak to them nobody seemed to care.

"I got into my car with a hot water bottle and went into the Crickley Hill Country Park driveway and stayed there until I could see that they had finished.

"National Highways are supposed to book me into The Frogmill during night work but they often get the dates wrong so work starts while I am still in the house.

"Last week they started drilling at night with no notice and it was too late to stay in a hotel so my son-in-law had come all the way from Cirencester.

"When I first moved in nearly 40 years ago I was told that the cottage would be knocked down but last year they went back on this decision. 

"I have been living on tenterhooks for all this time."

Swindon Advertiser: The Air Balloon roundabout is just metres away from Myra's front doorThe Air Balloon roundabout is just metres away from Myra's front door (Image: Camilla Foster)

Her son-in-law Bob Berry, who lives in Cirencester, says National Highways are not doing enough to resolve this issue.

Mr Berry, aged 64, said: "I have been banging my head against a brick wall about all of this.

"I was guaranteed that we would get a minimum of two weeks notice of any night work but they don't take any notice of it.

"All they do is promise us the earth and do nothing.

"The way she has been treated feels like they couldn't care less.

"At this point who is controlling her life, them or her?"

Swindon Advertiser: Air Balloon roundabout Air Balloon roundabout (Image: Camilla Foster)

Steve Foxley, project director for the A417 Missing Link scheme, said: “We appreciate that any work, particularly on such a major project, can cause disruption and do all we can to minimise that. 

"We are in contact with Mrs Sefton and her family and have provided alternative accommodation where appropriate.
“We will continue to do our best to address any concerns and to minimise any impacts from our work on the scheme.”