Residents angry as Portsmouth City Council leaves land to run wild

DISPUTE Residents Russell Nicholson, his partner Jackie Underwood and neighbour Sarah Proctor want land cleared as they have had problems with rats. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123021-1)
DISPUTE Residents Russell Nicholson, his partner Jackie Underwood and neighbour Sarah Proctor want land cleared as they have had problems with rats. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123021-1)
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ANGRY residents are demanding regular maintenance of a piece of wasteland which has been left to become overgrown.

The land used to be part of one of the gardens of a home in Stanford Close, Paulsgrove, but it was separated off by Portsmouth City Council in the summer of 2007 and allocated for communal use.

Residents and the council are currently in consultation over what to do with the land, and the council is considering suggestions to turn it into allotments.

But neighbours have grown fed up of the lack of maintenance the site has received since its separation.

Sarah Proctor, 35, has lived next to the plot for more than three years, with her two children Ashley, 11 and Maria, six.

She said: ‘The place is infested with rats and they are coming into my garden and house.

‘It’s no way to live, especially when I have two young children, it’s not safe for them. I’ve even found dead rats in my garden that have came from the land.

‘It’s so unhygienic and it’s stressing me out.’

Since separating the land in 2007, the council has been on site to maintain it three times – in June 2010, May 2011 and February 2012.

But neighbours claim that this work was only carried out after they called the council numerous times.

Homeowner Russell Nicholson, 43, said the wooden panel fencing between his garden and the site has rotted due to the overgrown bramble bushes, which are now around six-foot high.

He said: ‘It’s disgusting the state it’s been left in, and no-one seems to care.

‘We’re going to have to get a set of new panels now, and we’ve had to get a cat to keep the rats out because there’s so many of them.

‘It needs regular maintenance – the council needs to be up here once a month to clear it.’

A spokeswoman for the council said: ‘The summer weather has caused many areas to become overgrown and the team had to deal with priority communal areas first. We are planning for maintenance to be carried out on that piece of land by the end of the month.

‘We have previously let residents know that it will be maintained again after the growing season but have been able to bring this forward because of the unusual amount of growth over the summer.’