‘Des-res’ streets are now rat alleys, claim residents

Rat infested Frederick Street, Goldthorpe.

Rat infested Frederick Street, Goldthorpe.

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RATS, drugs, rot and rowdy tenants are destroying a once sought-after neighbourhood in Goldthorpe, it is claimed.

Pathways along the backs of terraces are no-go alleys to all except rats, and police are constant visitors - unlike some of the absent landlords of neglected properties, claim people who live around Frederick Street, Wellington Street, Poplar Avenue and Albert Road.

Along the back of one terrace are yards full of weeds and debris....mattresses rot in the sun and the smell is more of a stench.

Homeowners and decent tenants are desperate to see improvement. Some claim they are caught in the “rat-trap” - unable to move as the state of the neighbourhood has lowered house prices substantially.

Barnsley Council has arranged for skip loads of rubbish to be removed, but the problems quickly recur, the Times was told.

Jackie Wild, 43, has lived in the area for four months. She loves her rented home and has a good local landlord. But she is horrified at the “massive” flies that invade her rooms, and the rats at the back.

To protect her yard, she has invested in ferrets. Just their presence is enough to ward the rats off, she said.

Jackie told the Times: “I watch rats running along the fence. Some gardens are absolutely disgusting. There’s a lot of concern. Something should be done.

“I daren’t open my windows but flies still get in...huge things. I killed 33 one morning. The rubbish attracts them.”

Others spoke of recent drugs raids, and how a youngster emerged from one garden with a fistful of syringes...

Quick turnover tenancies and boarded up homes are the issue, said residents, who have arranged ‘community meetings’ with the council and police in the past.

“At one time you could see the drug queues at regular times,” said one man who would not be named. “Dealing was going on constantly, in the open. It still is!”

Martin and Susan O’Connor are residents of 32 years. They recall a happy neighbourhood with street parties. Now they hardly dare step outside.

A spokeswoman for Harbor Properties at Goldthorpe, who have two rentals in the area to good tenants, said: “Goldthorpe needs more investment to attract working people and make it a desirable place to live.

“Many investment landlords are not from this area which demonstrates the importance of using local letting agents who want to attract only good tenants.

“We are aware of the issues of certain areas and can only suggest more policing and tougher action from the council.

“There are notices they can place on landlords, if they can contact them. Communities need to stick together to safeguard their areas too. Empty properties attract rubbish and rats and in turn that affects others.”