Small flies have tormented a neighbourhood for years, with swarms of the insects infesting people’s houses and kitchens.

Huge clouds of flies looking “like murmurations of swallows” have blighted parts of the Riding Estate in Uckfield much to the despair of residents.

A group of neighbours are now renewing their campaign for the flies, linked to a nearby Southern Water treatment plant, to be eradicated as hundreds more homes are set to be built nearby.

A Southern Water spokesman maintained that the flies were “harmless” and that they are “just in their natural habitat” but that the company is doing “everything that we can” to control the problem.

Terry Kingshott, who lives in Forge’s Rise, said: “You can’t do anything outside, you can’t have the windows open because they just come in.

The Argus: Terry KingshottTerry Kingshott (Image: The Argus)

“In my house the window frames just go black with them.

Den Banfield, a resident of the Riding Estate, said: “I get bombarded with them. We were trying to build something in the garden and we had to go inside because they came in a massive group.

Please disable your ad-blocker to view the video below:

“They go up to the highest point and then they die. They are dying in your food, it’s disgusting.

“We’ve had enough as residents and we don’t feel that our views are respected or listened to.”

Residents of the Riding Estate say they have been afflicted with the swarms of flies for years with the issue getting worse around the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flies, believed to be a form of non-biting mosquito, often swarm in humid conditions and infest houses throughout the day and night.

Sarah Chatfield, who has lived in the estate for seven years, said at its worst she had been forced to “hoover my ceiling” to get rid of the flies.

The fly issue comes as developers are looking to build 750 dwellings on land adjacent to the water treatment plant.

The Argus: Den BanfieldDen Banfield (Image: The Argus)

A planning application submitted to Wealden District Council also includes plans for a children’s play area and residential parking spaces.

John Penicud, director of Wastewater Operations, said: “We do everything we can to control the flies but there are strict regulations on the chemicals that can be used.

"The flies are harmless, they're attracted to areas of stagnant water like naturally in the environment. At our Uckfield treatment works we have large areas of stagnant water so it's a natural process and the flies are just in their natural habitat.

"Obviously that's not acceptable to the residents locally and that's why we control them with insecticides. These are licensed to us by the Environment Agency and we use them under the guidance of industry-leading experts, that we've engaged to help us manage the problem at Uckfield."

A Southern Water spokesman said the company could not comment on the planning application when asked what they would do to mitigate the issue if the plans were approved.