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Nairn's Queenspark residents told councillor officers about a rat problem associated with dilapidated garages

By Donald Wilson

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Local residents say a delapidated garage at the back of Peter Street is causing a rat infestation.Brian Matthew, May Botto, Henry MacKenzie, William Smith, Brian and Irene Blackley.Picture Gary Anthony
Local residents say a delapidated garage at the back of Peter Street is causing a rat infestation.Brian Matthew, May Botto, Henry MacKenzie, William Smith, Brian and Irene Blackley.Picture Gary Anthony

A RAT infestiation among derelict garages and sheds in a Nairn housing estate was one of the major issues raised on a walkabout round Queenspark with council officers.

The visit by housing staff, which was welcomed by local residents, was the first of a series of Rate Your Estate visits by the council to address problems on council estates and to enhance communities for the people who live there.

New doors and windows, improved landscaping, clearance of shrubbery encroaching on to car parking spaces and “skip days” when the council will provide skips to enable tenants to clear their gardens of rubbish were among the issues discussed.

Morag Anderson of the Queenspark Residents Group said the visit which took place last Tuesday with members of council’s housing department included a lot of constructive dialogue about improvements to council housing stock and the local environment.

The most serious environmental problem was identified in Peter Street where rats are reportedly encroaching into gardens from wooden garages which have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

May Botto, who lives in the street with her partner Henry Mackenzie said: “We have raised the matter with the council last Tuesday and they have not done anything about it until a month on when pest control staff set traps.

“The rats moved from one shed to another.

“Now the council have seen first hand what the problem is hopefully something will be done.

“I cannot use my back garden. I’ve had my grandchildren out there playing and rats have come into the garden from the sheds.

“It’s not just one or two. There are lots of them.

“These sheds need demolished and the rubbish in them removed.

“It’s appalling that we can’t use our gardens because of vermin. I’m really hoping now we will get some action. My main concern is my grandchildren being bitten by rats.

“We’ve been told by pest control there’s a run underneath the garages and they have put down poison and there are several neighbours who will back this up.

“I want to get my garden back in use during the summer school holidays.”

Several residents and Miss Anderson and Katrina Woods from the residents group accompanied officials on the walkabout, identifying problems areas which could be tidied up and made more attractive.

Miss Anderson said: “It was a fantastic day well attended by residents, council staff and even one of the newly elected councillors, Babs Jarvie.

“Provost Fraser also made a brief visit.

“A whole host of issues were raised on the day, some dealt with on the day, some will be passed to the relevant departments for action and others like windows and doors will be looked at as part of the longer-term capital programme.

“I am keen to promote the hugely positive nature of so much of the discussion on the day, folk wanting to come together for the benefit of their community.

“There were lots of ideas for reusing ‘waste’, recycling, being aware of our planet’s limited resources and protecting nature.

“Tyre planters, pallet wood benches, community composting, fruit trees and raised veg beds were just a few of the ideas.”

She added: “We hope to have a face to face meeting in the next few weeks, looking at becoming a constituted group. This will enable us to access funding streams for other community activities like children’s events in the school holidays, coffee mornings, community planting or even day trips.”

Nairn Ceilidh Group who begin their new summer season on June 30 hope to support the group with a donation at the end of their programme.

“This is exactly the kind of support we need and it would be most welcome,” Miss Anderson said.

Anyone wishing to become involved with ideas or experience to share should contact Highland Council’s tenant participation officer at Catriona.Sutherland1@highland.gov.uk or the residents group at nairnresidentsgroup@gmail.com

A Highland Council spokesman said: “Rate Your Estates are where tenants, housing staff and councillors come together to walk round the estate to give tenants the opportunity to point out areas of concern and where they would like to see improvements made.

“Housing staff can then draw up an action plan based on the tenants’ wishes and priorities to ensure that tenants’ rent money is being spent on improvements highlighted by the tenants themselves.”

All residents are invited to attend. If you cannot go but would still like to have your say, email nairnresidentsgroup@gmail.com.

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