AN ‘EXTREME’ infestation of rats nesting in a Basingstoke park has become ‘out of control’ and is causing a 'huge environmental health hazard' for residents who say the pests are entering their homes, nesting in roof spaces and rotting in cavity walls.

Fifty residents living in homes near Glebe Gardens in the town centre, including Church Square and Elbow Corner, have signed a letter to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council calling for it to take action and address the problem “urgently”, saying it has become “out of control”.

Liz Wheeler, who lives in Church Square and who has coordinated the efforts, said: “This concern for the rat infestation has particular reference to Glebe Gardens being the point at which the rats consistently enter our respective properties and return from them. It is fair to assume therefore that this is principally where they nest.”

She added: “Ours is a community principally of terraced cottages, semi-detached and a few detached, all abutting or in the environs of Glebe Gardens. All close together.

“We want to know what the council has been doing and will be doing about this huge environmental issue. Individuals treating their properties does not cure the infestation that now exists. Additionally, it’s a health issue for all that use Glebe Gardens Park and it urgently needs a central control under environmental health.”

Attempts by residents to resolve the issue themselves have not worked.

The letter said: “We have instances of many bodies being called out by our families in their own homes but, this rat problem is out of control - unless a blanket response across all our dwellings is applied.

“We have had instances of rats entering homes, nesting in roof spaces, getting trapped and rotting in cavity walls (then comes the fly infestation whilst the body decomposes), coming up from sewers etc. and the common source is Glebe Gardens.”

Andrew Ball, from Church Square, previously wrote to the borough council to complain, but so far nothing has been done.

The subsequent joint letter to the council said: “Various neighbours share this concern with particular reference to Glebe Gardens being the point at which they consistently enter our property and return. It is fair to assume this is therefore principally where they nest.”

It points out legislation showing the council is required to keep its land free from rats and mice.

“In this instance, that land is Glebe Gardens and we would like to know what current measures you are taking to adhere to this requirement?” the letter said.

Residents have also asked the council for its spend per year on pest control and how many infestations it has tacked per day. The letter said: “The nest is in fact Glebe Gardens and therefore as a matter of course you have a legal responsibility to carry out pest control in it.”

Residents have spotted rats in the grounds of Adelphi House, Elbow Corner and in the grounds of St Michael’s Church, inside the church rooms and extended buildings, and the aromatic gardens.

They are worried about the health and safety of those who use Glebe Gardens, including picnickers, dog walkers, Cubs and Scouts and workers who visit the gardens for their lunch break.

“This is an environmental health hazard to our community, for which we have a duty of care with regard to pest control,” they said.

The residents are preparing a written guide for personal steps to address the problem as a community but added: “The responsibility for control of the extent and scale of this infestation is impossible to handle on a personal level.

"As such, many of the householders here are signing this letter to show their need for support from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.”

Residents said they have not yet received an acknowledgement or response from the borough council after sending the letter more than two weeks ago. 

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been asked for a comment.


The borough council responded with a statement following the publication of this article. It said: "A report of issues with rats in gardens of homes near Glebe Gardens was received by the council on September 13.

"We instructed our appointed pest controller to assess the situation, and this was followed up by a visit from our environmental health team leader.

"We saw evidence of rats in the area and we are working with residents to tackle the issues as far as we practically can.

"Some of the hotspot burrows and nests close to properties are being treated with bait boxes.

"We are careful with the treatment of rodents in park areas as we have to ensure the safety of children and animals, such as pet dogs or cats.

"We will be monitoring the situation and treating further areas as needed.

"As with all parks, especially in town centre areas where there is easy access to discarded food in bins, there will be rats and other wildlife.

"The rats will be attracted to go into gardens and homes by food and places to nest. Residents are therefore being advised against leaving any food out for birds or pets in their gardens.

"More information and advice is on the council website at"