Rat problem needs to be tackled in town

PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'Julia Berry is calling on Chorley to clean-up its act over a rat infestation close to Portland Street car park
PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'Julia Berry is calling on Chorley to clean-up its act over a rat infestation close to Portland Street car park

‘Chorley’s town centre is infested with rats.’

That’s the claim from a politician who has called on Chorley Council to clean-up its act.

Coun Julia Berry, who represents Chorley East, said there is a serious problems with rats that is being caused by litter in and around the town centre.

She said the worst affected area is the bridge that passes between the Portland Street and Friday Street car parks and she has witnessed first hand rats breeding there.

She has now appealed to the council to do more to clean-up the mess and tackle the problem and also called on residents to refrain from dropping litter.

Coun Berry said: “We have had an issue in the Friday Street area for quite a while as a member of the public has been feeding the pigeons, but the rats have also been attracted by the food.

“There is also an issue as McDonalds is close-by and instead of putting their rubbish in the bin, people have just been dumping it in the street.

“A number of concerned residents have contacted me to see what can be done and I have literally seen people running down the street screaming as they have seen the rats in broad daylight.”

Coun Berry said that she has raised the issue with officers at the council.

She added: “I have spoken to the council and one of the suggestions was to get volunteers to help clear the area.

“I think that is absurd when there is vermin about. I have been told that they will be taking on casual workers to help sort the problem, but something needs to be done straight away.

“I have already been to see the manager of McDonalds and they have a robust cleaning schedule in place, but the council needs to be playing its part too.

“We don’t want people to be put off going in to the town centre so action needs to be taken now.”

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “I am disappointed with Coun Berry’s approach to this problem. At no time has she raised this issue with me but has chosen to go to the press instead.

“Had Coun Berry discussed it with me I could have told her that we’ve increased our investment in street cleaning over the last year and this has resulted in cleaner streets right across the borough, including the town centre.

“We deal with pests right throughout the year and hire extra staff in the summer to carry out sewer baiting to try and prevent problems with rats.

“We realise from time to time that there can be a problem with litter in certain spots, such as car parks, where uncaring and irresponsible people drop takeaway litter and we are working with local businesses to improve matters.

“However, we need people to do their bit and either take their rubbish home or put it in one of the litter bins we provide.”