AN electricity substation set to power a supermarket is being built outside family homes.

Residents in Rectory Park Drive, Pitsea, say they were given just a day’s notice before work on the 6ft high metal box began.

It will supply power to a 75,000sq ft Morrisons supermarket being built on the site of the current Aldi store.

Residents claim they were left in the dark about the “eyesore’’ substation when plans for the £30million regeneration of Pitsea were revealed.

However, Basildon Council insists no planning laws have been broken as the sub-station was scheduled to be built in the area, although a location was not pinpointed.

Homeowners in Rectory Park Drive were sent letters by Vinci Construction, the contractors carrying out the regeneration work on behalf of developers London and Cambridge, on Tuesday afternoon.

Workers arrived at the site yesterday to begin digging for the sub-station, which is expected to be up in four days.

Resident Sharon Packman, 57, said: “It will be right in front of my living room, with just a path in between.

“We looked at the plans for the regeneration really carefully and there was never a sub-station.

“We would definitley have challenged that. Instead, we were given a day’s notice and there is nothing we can do.

“We were supportive of the regeneration until trees were cut down, despite having preservation orders on them.

“To be honest, we just went with it because it is all to boost Pitsea. But this latest development is just unbelievable.’’ Neighbour Theresa Cronin, 39, said: “Wewere told when regeneration started house prices would go up, but a sub-station outside our house isn’t going to help.

“We don’t know about noise levels, or if there are any health risks.’’ Utility companies are able to carry out work on public land without specific planning permission, if they can prove it is essential.

A council spokesman said the plot in Rectory Park Drive was the best location.

He said: “This work falls under the rights of statutory undertakers and does not require planning permission. However, the sub-station was included in plans submitted to the council prior to permission being granted.’’