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Overgrown alleys 'a haven for rats' PROTEST: Residents and council at odds over who has duty to clear up the mess.

Byline: By Helen Thomas

RESIDENTS in a Coventry street fear that rats will start to infest the neighbourhood if they do not get help to clean up overgrown entrances.

The Charterhouse Residents Group has been asking the council for years to help clean up alleyways around St Margaret's Road, Stoke.

Committee member Ray Hunt, 71, a retired electricity board worker, said dumped rubbish, carpets and furniture as well as overgrown plants are providing the perfect home for vermin.

He said: "We've seen rats for the first time that I can remember. There are lots of places for them to hide, under carpet or in furniture.

"There is a lot of vegetation which has overgrown. Landlords often dump things outside their homes and builders once left enormous amounts of rubbish. They were told to clear it up but they barely touched it.

"There is even an old Ford Anglia at one end which has been there for about 30 years."

The entries were gated by the council about 10 years ago to stop people using them as shortcuts.

Mr Hunt believes the council is responsible for keeping the area clean, but a spokesman said the entries were co-owned by the residents and were not the responsibility of the council.

Mr Hunt has met 18 councillors or council officers over the years and last week says he was told that workers would arrive, accompanied by police, to remove some of the rubbish, but they cancelled.

"It takes me about an hour and a half to clean and sweep the area just along the side of my house. The council shouldn't turn their backs on it and let this happen."

His wife Margaret said: "We might live in a small house but we don't want to live in filth."

A city council spokesman said: "Like most entries across the city, the one behind the houses in St Margaret's Road is not owned by the council. It is co-owned by all of the residents and is their joint responsibility to keep it clean and tidy. Mr Hunt has been advised of this on a number of occasions.

"If vermin are spotted we can arrange for the pest control team to survey the area."

CAPTION(S):

MS310108RUBB1; MS310108RUBB2 DUMPING GROUND... Ray Hunt (above) in one of the alleys of St Margaret's Road and (inset) this car has lain abandoned for decades.. Pictures: Michelle Sperry
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 4, 2008
Words:399
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