Cricklewood estate reports 'major vermin' problem

Fly-tipping in Handley Grove

Fly-tipping in Handley Grove - Credit: Nicola Mann

Neighbours living on an estate in Cricklewood say “out-of-control” fly-tipping has left them with a “major vermin problem”.

Residents of Handley Grove claim illegally dumped rubbish can be left for weeks before being cleared, attracting rats and mice that have infested flats.

The neighbours say housing association Network Homes has not done enough to tackle the fly-tipping problem after it cut back on cleaning services, and in some cases it had told residents it was their responsibility to call pest control.

Nicola Mann, who lives in Handley Grove, said residents “started getting mice around the time that they [Network] cut back our cleaning services in 2007”, and she had been reporting fly-tipping problems since 2013.

“It has now got out of control, and we now have a major vermin problem,” she added.

“In 2021, they officially acknowledged that we had rats in the structure of our block of flats, but in my opinion they have done nothing to make this a priority.”

Network called out a pest control team to block up holes in the brickwork, but Nicola said the grates they installed came loose after five to six weeks.

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Nicola said some residents had been told it was their responsibility to call pest control, but later Network said it was its responsibility and failed to inform residents, leading to confusion about where responsibility ultimately lies.

Gerry Doherty, of Network Homes, said the association views CCTV footage remotely to identify any perpetrators responsible for fly-tipping, and the information “is then passed over to Barnet Council, who have the enforcement powers to take action that we don’t have”.

Barnet Council disputed his comments, however. A spokesperson for the council said: “Fly-tipping reported to Network Homes is Network Homes’ responsibility to investigate and remove. Barnet Council has not received any referrals of fly-tipping from Network Homes.”

Gerry added: “If the perpetrators [of fly-tipping] are residents of Network Homes, then we rely on strong evidence before we can take appropriate and proportionate enforcement action against their tenancy.

“Handley Grove has had a treatment programme in place for pest problems since 2021, which includes the inside of resident properties. This followed extensive investigations by our contractor partners in order to determine what was causing the problems. We’re working alongside contractors to continuously monitor the situation. Regarding the individual case, colleagues from Network Homes and our contractors will be visiting."