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Sunday, April 14, 2024

The estate that has been invaded by rats

Redwood Estate residents say they fear the building will collapse as rats and mice threaten to nibble through ceilings and rooves

It is not every day that a person might see a paramedic being attacked by a rat while trying to transport someone to a hospital. The image conjures up something in a viral TikTok video or a You’ve Been Framed moment but for Hounslow residents it is another bizarre incident that has started to characterise their lives.

People living on the Redwood Estate say they are terrified the whole building will come down after a massive infestation of rodents appears to have taken over. Although the presence of rats is not a hugely new occurrence in the area, residents say things have been getting progressively worse in the past six months, forcing some to take radical steps.

Rat droppings in the Redwood estate Image: LDRS

Keith Bramley, witness to the surreal incident involving an ambulance crew attending to his neighbour being charged by rats, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he has had to resort to having his door open at all times because of the stench.

“We got all sorts of problems,” he said, “we got a bloody manhole that has been broken since the summer and the rats have been coming up out of there. They are running round all round here.”

Keith, who has been living on the estate for 24 years, says that his front porch has smelt like dead rats for months, forcing him and partner Eve to keep their door open to dispel the smell even in freezing temperatures. “You can’t see them but you can hear them scratching around,” Keith said.

Keith and Eve Image: LDRS

“You get that stench coming in now, the smell of rat’s pee. We’ve had to put up with this.” The resident says his frustration lies with the fact that although the council has acted, putting out poison for instance, it is ineffective and he and other residents don’t feel listened to.

A permanent feature of his porch is a mallet which he has at the ready in case something emerges or as a deterrent with the bashing noise of the mallet intended to scare the rodents off. “This is just ridiculous,” he adds, “they (the council) don’t give a toss.”

The actions by the council have not been sufficient, Keith’s neighbour Apoline Pereira and husband say. They show LDRS attempts by the council to block access points for rodents to the innards of the building, a lacklustre pile of sticks and two-by-fours shoved into an exposed cavity, but not much else.

Mr Pereira outside his home in the Redwood estate in London Image: LDRS

“Always been like this, it has been months,” Apoline said. “Once a long time ago I think my neighbours had one small rat, maybe 5 years ago but then, we have never had this issue.”

She adds that she thinks that there is a certain level to which her fellow tenants are to blame for the upsurge, with some not disposing of their household waste responsibly. “Now they are everywhere, we can hear them, upstairs, downstairs.”

Apoline has videos of her being greeted in the entrance hallway of the estate by a rat scurrying across the floor. “It’s scary because we have never had this before.”

Her husband Joseph says the problem is only going to intensify the longer it is unaddressed. “It’s getting worse. It only going to get worse unless something is done about it.”

“No one is doing nothing.”

The couple, who also share a daughter, say that the noise of the rats scurrying up the outside of their flat and up into the ceiling keeps them awake at night. Joseph said: “Upstairs it feels like the rats are playing football or something, bam bam bam.”

“You think someone is knocking on your door in the middle of the night.” Joseph showed LDRS the routes the mice and rats are using to get into the rafters. “Now I think there is a gap between the walls.”

“This is a big concern for me because they might have disease and infect someone. They might damage the building.”

The couple pay a £250 monthly service charge with Apoline saying she believes more should be done if they are paying that amount of money. Rajendra Rana is another resident, one who has perhaps been hit hardest by the infestation.

“We had a new kitchen fitted about two or three years back and then the rats came in.”

“It was hard work. They came more and more. We couldn’t get rid of them.”

“Once one came in they kept having babies, I saw a rat every day.”

“We had to get a new kitchen fitted again because the guy had left a hole in the back and they were coming through the back. So we had to get it fitted again. It cost us 3-4 thousand.”

Since he got the kitchen fixed, Rajendra says he has stopped having rats inside his house, but he can still hear them outside his home. He has a similar problem to his neighbours, with the rats sometimes waking him and his wife up in the middle of the night.

He says he would like to see the council do something to help. In a statement, Hounslow Council said it was responding to complaints.

Cllr Sue Sampson Image: Hounslow Council

Cllr Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness, said: “The Council was alerted to a report of rats at a resident’s property and the Council’s pest control officers will be attending the estate [Friday, 9 February] to assess and treat as appropriate.

“Keeping our residents safe and properties secure is a priority. We will conduct a review of all communal areas at the estate, including roof spaces, next week and take necessary action to address any pest control issues.”

“We encourage residents to report rats and other pests as soon as possible and our pest control officers aim to attend all such reports and work to address any problems promptly.”

For info you can send reports to: pestcontrol@hounslow.gov.uk

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