Gunwharf Quays children's play area closed after reports of 'several' rat sightings

A CHILDREN’S play area at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth has been closed after a visitor reported seeing rats.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 11:07 am
Updated Sunday, 19th January 2020, 2:00 pm

A spokeswoman for the high-end shopping centre told The News the play areawould be shut off to the public ‘until further notice'.

It comes after a resident living near the Hard allegedly saw 'several’ of the rodents living in planters which border the play area.

Comprising a slide, a traversing wall, and a seesaw, the area has been popular since it was installed at Gunwharf Quays in June, 2018.

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The playground at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth which has been closed after rats were spotted Picture: Millie Salkeld

It sits behind Tesco Express at Vernon Gate – the shopping centre's entrance at the junction of Park Road and St George’s Road.

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Yvonne Clay, senior marketing manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘Customer safety is our absolute priority. As such, following a report from a resident, we have made the decision to close the children’s play area until further notice as we carry out an internal investigation.'

Resident Stephen Boardman raised the alarm with security after ‘a family of four rats’ allegedly ran past him near the play area on Wednesday.

A rat (generic image)

The 59-year-old mechanical engineer said he was ‘disappointed' to see the play area still open last night, with rats ‘screaming' from the planters.

‘I heard them crying then one that must have been about 12in long shot under a fence near Tesco,' he said.

‘I immediately went to the reception and reported it to the duty manager.

The play area is situated through Gunwharf Quays' main entrance, Vernon Gate, pictured, which straddles the junction of Park Road and St George's Road. Picture: Google Street View

‘I said if it wasn’t closed off by tomorrow morning I would report it to the Health and Safety Executive.'

He added: ‘The safety manager phoned me this morning at 8am saying they would dig out all the soil and put in plastic plants to see if they could stop it.

‘It’s good action is being taken, but I think the play area should've been closed down straight away. Rat urine is dangerous.'