FED-UP residents’ lives are being made a misery by a plague of rats they claim has been brought on by the development of a new transport hub in Portsmouth.
Homeowners close to the transport hub in Tipner, Portsmouth, say they have put up with rodents invading their properties and causing damage ever since work began on the multimillion pound scheme last year.
They believe the rats moved into their property after being displaced by works.
And residents are now desperate for the city council to step in and sort the issue out.
Aaron Keane, 36, of Hilldowns Avenue, claims he had a chunk of his right ear bitten off in his sleep by a huge rat and his electricity supply has been cut off on numerous occasions because of the rodents cutting into electrical wires.
His house was also flooded after he emptied his kitchen sink because waste pipes underneath had been gnawed into.
‘My house has been completely wrecked,’ he said.
‘I have no kitchen and I haven’t got the money to repair everything.
‘I’ve had to cut holes in the ceiling in my living room to put traps up.
‘I had a problem with rats when the Greyhound Stadium site was cleaned up, but not like this. This is all because of the park and ride. A woman told me she’s seen rats run through her garden and that never happened before the park and ride work started.’
Linda Freshwater, 51, of Tipner Road, said: ‘I have had rats running around in the attic, but we can’t seem to find them.
‘We think they’re running along the back of the house as well. We’re worried about the electricity being cut-off. It’s being caused by the park and ride and the site being developed.’
Sylvia Watson, of Hilldowns Avenue, said she knew of a family who had to move out until someone came to clear out rats in their home.
‘I think there is a big problem,’ she said. ‘Lots of people in the street have been affected. We never had any problems like this before the park and ride.’
Baifeng Zhang, who lives with his wife Lanlan Ma and son Arthur, said he had to get slabs on his driveway replaced after it collapsed due to a rat hole being underneath.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council has admitted it did not put traps or poison down when laying the foundations for the park and ride early last year, since it did not see it as an area with a particular rat problem.
And it ruled out the site – completed in March this year – being the cause of problems, since no work has been done in some time to disturb rat populations.
Other sites in Tipner not owned by the council have also been worked on by their landowners – but there’s no suggestion they are to blame for rat trouble.
Homes and Communities Agency has tasked developer Radian to build 80 homes on a separate 17,000 sq m plot of land it owns east of Tipner.
Tipner Regeneration Company wants to create 518 properties on adjoining land and has carried out decontamination works and cleared up the former Greyhound Stadium site.
A HCA spokesman said: ‘We are not aware of any problem directly related to our site in Tipner. The site is currently an open concrete and grass site following work that has taken place there.’
Richard Lee, the council’s environmental health manager, said: ‘Rat problems are reported throughout Portsmouth. In cases where we are asked for our assistance, we work with the resident to solve it.
‘The treatments carried out so far for Mr Keane have already seen an improvement and our work is still ongoing.
‘While there has been a lot of regeneration activity in Tipner there hasn’t been anything recently which we would expect to disturb rat populations.
‘Work carried out to prepare sites and clear vegetation close to residential properties was completed more than 12 months ago.’