RESIDENTS fear a bungalow damaged when a speeding car crashed into it after a police chase may have to be demolished.

The Ford Focus smashed into the Benfleet home after spinning upside down, hitting the roof, then falling to the ground.

The driver fled from the scene, avoiding pursuing police cars, a helicopter and a dog unit.

Essex County Council owns the property, in Thundersley Park Drive, Benfleet, and rents it out. Fortunately, the elderly resident of the bungalow had moved out into a care home earlier this year.

Residents believe it is inevitable the house must be knocked down.

Jo Tennant, who lives further down the road, said: “I’d be absolutely stunned if it could be stabilised. There is a huge crack down the side, the whole thing would need to be underpinned.

It’s uninhabitable at the moment.”

But a spokesman for the county council said it was still assessing the situation and hadn’t yet come to a conclusion.

He said: “Surveyors have been on site to look carefully at the damage caused by the accident and are compiling a detailed report on the structure to determine next steps. There are no plans to demolish this property.”

Ms Tennant said the junction in general had been left unsafe by the county council not cutting back vegetation She added: “That junction becomes overgrown every year and it’s the same thing over and over. We have to go through a battle until they cut it back every year.”

The council’s spokesman added: “The vegetation at the site has been highlighted to the Essex Highways Service, who will cut it back if it is causing concern, the same with the trees on the bungalow site.”

Police are still searching for the driver of the car, which hit the bungalow on May 14.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “The driver of the car knows we are seeking him, but currently remains outstanding.”