Rats invade city apartment block due to fly-tipping

Michael Stewart-Watling and Cate Oliver

Michael Stewart-Watling, who lives in Cherry Close in Lakenham, Norwich. Insert: Councillor Cate Oliver, cabinet member for environmental services - Credit: Archant/Norwich City Council

Fly-tippers which have plagued people living in a city apartment block have now brought rats to the doorstep of exasperated locals.

Those living in Cherry Close in south Norwich have continually complained that criminals are constantly dumping rubbish in an overgrown communal garden.

And now rats have moved in en masse with the discarded debris building up.

A Norwich councillor has now apologised for the ongoing issues and said the council is acting urgently to improve the area.

Michael Stewart-Watling, 74, has lived in Cherry Close since 1995.

He says the problem is ongoing and long-lasting: "It's been a problem for three or four years at least. It's beyond a joke.

Anger over the state of a communal garden for Cherry Close flats in Norwich. Resident Michael Steward

Michael Stewart-Watling in the overgrown communal garden in Cherry Close - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"Fly-tipping has eased up somewhat and the larger items are being cleared but there's still food lying around in the overgrown bushes.

"And that's given us the problem with rats being attracted from Lakenham Way - and it's just getting worse. All of us living in Southwell Road, Trafalgar Street, and Cherry Close have seen them.

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"The only way to deal with the rats is to clean up. It's a mess, an absolute mess.

"People couldn't even hang their washing up if they wanted to."

Fly-tipping on Cherry Close in Lakenham. Picture: Danielle Booden

Fly-tipping on Cherry Close in Lakenham - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Stewart Watling is unhappy with the council's inaction.

"They can't put it down to the pandemic anymore, it's ridiculous," he said.

He added: "I haven't seen anyone from the council around here even though they said they'd investigate. 

"They've done nothing about the rats, even though they said they'd look into it."

Norwich City Councillor Cate Oliver, cabinet member for environmental services

Councillor Cate Oliver, cabinet member for environmental services - Credit: Norwich City Council

Cate Oliver, cabinet member for environmental services for Norwich City Council, said: “I am sorry to hear about the continued issues that the resident is having in his neighbourhood.

“I’m pleased that the fly-tipping has been dealt with swiftly by the team and have now been notified that the shrubbery maintenance work has also started this week.

“I take the concerns from residents very seriously and will continue to work for those living in Cherry Close to get these problems resolved.

“Residents are encouraged to please continue to report fly-tipping and other issues, such as spilled food waste, through to the council using the online forms on the website or by calling 0344 980 3333.”