JAPANESE knotweed is spreading through a housing estate and could knock tens of thousands of pounds off property values.

The invasive plant can spread quickly and is currently infesting open areas around Sturrocks, Vange.

Families claim to have been reporting it to Basildon Council for six months with only one spray carried out.

Caroline Baxter, 45, said: “It’s disgusting that the council isn’t dealing with this.

“It’s getting close to my home and I am so worried.

“We all pay our rates and shouldn’t have to deal with this going on here.

“It’s a big issue and needs to be dug out and killed very soon.

“The council cannot just sit back and let this happen.”

The weed can grow under properties damaging the structure and areas with active knotweed can even see mortgages refused.

Barry Jones, 56, said: “I’ve lived here for 30 years and it’s a nice area but this sort of thing just spoils where we live.

“As it’s such a big job, we cannot do it ourselves or as residents we would club together and get rid of it.

“I think the council needs to get it’s act together and fix this issue, if they had done something about it then, it would have been gone by now.

“I will be so angry if the plant damages my garden and or home.

“If it’s left too long the whole estate will be covered in it.

“There is an issue with safety as people have suffered burns and blisters from the plant in the past.

“It is just not good enough at all.”

Nina Oggdon, 33, said: “I know that the plant can and does reduce the value and chances of getting mortgages on homes. We want our estate kept in good condition and we deserve this and so it needs to be removed.”

The plant can grow four inches-a-day with roots spreading under buildings.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “We recently identified a case of Japanese Knotweed in Sturrocks and it was added to our contractors spraying list and has had its first spray.”

If the plant gets within 23 feet of a property it can start to have an impact on the structure and price of a home, according to a firm called Japanese Knotweed experts in the field.