Despite being voted the best place to live, Valley Park is 'a favourite for rats'

Best place to live 'a favourite for rats'

Best place to live 'a favourite for rats'

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

IT MAY have been named the best place in the country to live, but one Hampshire community is also a top spot for attracting... rats.

Valley Park has been named the most desirable location in England and Wales in a survey, but 24 hours later the Daily Echo can reveal it has a rat infestation.

Now residents are demanding action, saying the infestation has made their lives a misery.

Some have taken the matter into their own hands and have put down poison and traps, but the population keeps expanding throughout Valley Park’s woodland and parks and near schools.

But now residents have had enough and are urging Test Valley Borough Council to take action.

This comes after research by a national newspaper rated the community top out of 7,137 based on its low crime, high earnings, rate of home ownership and residents’ health.

Local councillor Alan Dowden said he has received hundreds of complaints about the infestation.

He said: “I’m worried about children, because I know there are diseases rats can give through their urine and there are three nurseries in Valley Park and two primary schools.

“I know that some people are trying to kill them themselves and that’s dangerous. It could be that people’s pets get killed as a result of rats.

“Someone’s going to get into trouble if a child gets a disease from one of these rats and we have a high percentage of youngsters here.

“It’s got to be a concerted effort. There needs to be a culling of them because they breed so quickly and as we get more mild winters it’s getting worse.”

Residents say they see the creatures daily.

Maggie Poland, 68, vice chair of children’s charity Romsey Opportunity Group, from Tyne Close, Valley Park, said: “I’ve lived here for 23 years and I have never seen rats like this.

“In the past you occasionally saw one but I have never seen as many as this year.

“You worry about sitting outside or leaving the back door open.

“I’m worried they might come into my house. I think a lot of people are concerned about that.”

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) said the county’s rat population has been increasing because of warm winters and a reduction in habitats for other wildlife.

Graham Roberts from HIWWT said: “Domestic cats, foxes, owls, weasels and stoats will all happily kill rats.

“Sadly many urban areas have left little space for natural wildlife so rat numbers can increase very quickly.

“The one very real risk to human health is the disease Lep-tospirosis which is transmitted through rat’s urine.

“This disease can be potentially fatal.”

Test Valley Borough Council were unavailable to comment.

Valley Park was named as the country’s top spot after research looked at 7,137 areas across England and Wales, examining statistics on crime, household income, health, home ownership, the proportion of residents who are earning.

That followed statistics from Public Health England which revealed that people living in Valley Park have the highest life expectancy locally, with women expected to live to 89.3 and men to 84.7 – compared to 83.7 for women and 80.2 for men in Hampshire.

Comments (5)

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1:53pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Crazywolf says...

It's a pity humans don't eat Rats - we seem to be making a good job of wiping out the Fish and animals we DO eat....
It's a pity humans don't eat Rats - we seem to be making a good job of wiping out the Fish and animals we DO eat.... Crazywolf
  • Score: 1

2:47pm Fri 22 Aug 14

newsknight says...

The council won't fund the pest control which is totally wrong - but residents should be hiring their own pest control experts ... its not like they can't afford to get on top of the problem as its an affluent area (spot the high value cars!!!!) Rats carry disease and you only have to touch their waste - it doesn't need broken skin to enter your system - and it kills :-(
The council won't fund the pest control which is totally wrong - but residents should be hiring their own pest control experts ... its not like they can't afford to get on top of the problem as its an affluent area (spot the high value cars!!!!) Rats carry disease and you only have to touch their waste - it doesn't need broken skin to enter your system - and it kills :-( newsknight
  • Score: 3

5:32pm Fri 22 Aug 14

forest hump says...

Get a Jack Russell!
Get a Jack Russell! forest hump
  • Score: 1

3:12pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Till recently,I lived on the edge of the area known as "Valley Park" for 63 years.It was originally they site of the old Chandlers Ford brickworks,and farm land.
There have been rats in that area in all that time,and you cannot get rid of them,if you want to live in that area,I'm afraid you just have to accept it,get used to it,and learn to live with it.Putting down poisons won't make the slightest bit of difference,except putting other species of animals in danger.
As for the risk to children,my own children and their friends,and my grand children have all played and grown up in the gardens and surrounding fields in that area,where there are always rats present,and none have ever come to any harm.
The only people normally at more risk,are fishermen,and freshwater swimmers,but it is sensible to take precautions like wearing rubber gloves,if you are cleaning garden ponds,or if you are cleaning or gardening in areas where it is obvious (usually from the visible evidece of droppings)that rats are,or have been,present.Also,it is a good idea,not to grow climbing plants against the house,and certainly not up to roof level.
The one thing I can say,having lived with the problem all my life in that area,is that there is really no cause for panic,or alarm,providing the right precautions are taken,and if you can get used to the idea,that our "little furry friends" are out there.
Till recently,I lived on the edge of the area known as "Valley Park" for 63 years.It was originally they site of the old Chandlers Ford brickworks,and farm land. There have been rats in that area in all that time,and you cannot get rid of them,if you want to live in that area,I'm afraid you just have to accept it,get used to it,and learn to live with it.Putting down poisons won't make the slightest bit of difference,except putting other species of animals in danger. As for the risk to children,my own children and their friends,and my grand children have all played and grown up in the gardens and surrounding fields in that area,where there are always rats present,and none have ever come to any harm. The only people normally at more risk,are fishermen,and freshwater swimmers,but it is sensible to take precautions like wearing rubber gloves,if you are cleaning garden ponds,or if you are cleaning or gardening in areas where it is obvious (usually from the visible evidece of droppings)that rats are,or have been,present.Also,it is a good idea,not to grow climbing plants against the house,and certainly not up to roof level. The one thing I can say,having lived with the problem all my life in that area,is that there is really no cause for panic,or alarm,providing the right precautions are taken,and if you can get used to the idea,that our "little furry friends" are out there. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 3

3:17pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Positively4thStreet says...

PS
The rats weren't the reason I moved away from the area by the way,I was quite used to it after over 60 years,and would have been quite happy to have remained in that area for the rest of my days.
PS The rats weren't the reason I moved away from the area by the way,I was quite used to it after over 60 years,and would have been quite happy to have remained in that area for the rest of my days. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 0

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