An angry resident has complained about being kept up at night as rats scurry around his loft.
The person who lives on Bedford Street in Middlesbrough, but wants to remain anonymous, has blamed litter-strewn alleyways behind his home for the vermin. He is frustrated that more has not been done by his councillors or the local authority to clean up the area.
The area is under mixed ownership which means Middlesbrough Council is not responsible for all of the alleyway, so private owners need to keep their areas clean and tidy. The local authority said it will take action against any landowners causing a detriment to the area.
“It’s been going on from the moment I moved in, it’s been a disgusting state, it’s absolutely filthy,” according to the resident. He went on to add: “People have been going rummaging in the bins and churning out the stuff all over the place. It’s an uncontrolled complete and utter mess. The rats are all over the place, I have had rats in the loft coming in from the alley.”
He believes he has been fobbed off when he has asked for help to keep the area clean, though believes, due to his own efforts, the alleyway is looking much cleaner.
He went on to add: “If you go into the alley, you run into four or five rats as soon as you walk in. If you walk in further you see even more rats, they’re just not bothered in the slightest. They expect people to go and put their rubbish out in an alleyway full of rats, it’s just completely unacceptable.”
The resident’s mental health has also been impacted by the situation. He said: “I wanted to move out as soon as I moved in because of all the mess. The rats running around in the loft, keep me up at night. I couldn’t do a blooming thing for months and I was tortured living there. I went downhill fast and it’s been an uphill battle every day I have lived there.”
The Bedford Street resident was particularly annoyed with Labour councillor Linda Lewis, who represents Central ward, claiming she had not done enough to help him. However, she said she always responds to residents but urges them to go to the mayor or his executive team if they are unhappy and want further action.
Labour Group leader Cllr Matt Storey, who also represents Central ward, said the councillors for the area have worked extremely hard to keep the alleys clear, while claiming the local authority has gone above and beyond to keep it tidy, including cleaning commercial waste that’s the responsibility of business owners and removing items dumped in the alley.
He added: “The staff in environmental services work heroically to keep the streets and alleys in our ward clean despite the huge pressures placed on them by twelve years of austerity and cuts to council budgets and we are proud to work closely with them on Bedford Street and across Central ward.”
The resident is also frustrated at businesses in the area. Bedford Street and Baker Street are known for being a thriving area for independent ventures, but he claims they do not take enough care to keep the area tidy and the behaviour of some is “absolutely appalling”.
However, some of the businesses have also spoken out against the conditions in the alleyway but claim it’s not them and they do their best to look after the area. A spokesperson for Dr Watson’s said it had installed a camera after they caught another business dumping rubbish. The Baker Street bar has also blamed local residents who live in the flats and states it always tries to keep everything clean adding it was “a shame some others don’t have the same attitude.”
The Chairman, which is under new ownership, said it disposes of all rubbish into its designated bin which it pays for. A spokesperson for Rounton Coffee Houses which runs Bedford Street Coffee said the problem had been going on for years and it spends a lot of money on a regular waste collection.
They went on to add: “Seems a little short-sighted to say the businesses are at fault. Some are better than others. Some are bad. But it’s exactly the same for the residents – lazy people are lazy people, business or resident.”
While Bedford Street Social states that it takes the cleanliness of the area very seriously and has all the correct procedures in place. A spokesperson for the venue added: “Throughout our time trading at Bedford Street we have often found the blame lies with a select few residential residents and not commercial tenants.”
In April, Middlesbrough Council installed permanent seating along Bedford Street, alongside new flower boxes and plants. It is part of ongoing work to improve the town centre to attract visitors from across Teesside.
A Middlesbrough Council spokesperson said: “The alleyway between Baker Street and Bedford Street is in mixed ownership, with owners responsible for keeping their sections clear. Our environmental health team will take action against any landowners causing a detriment to the area, and we regularly speak to business owners to advise them on the correct presentation of waste.”
The local authority encourages people to report issues such as fly-tipping and dumping of rubbish on private land to the council’s contact centre on 01642 726001 or online at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/report.