COMMUNITY leaders in Valley Park have vowed to work together after a number of residents complained about rats in the area.

Residents have said that rats have been a problem for the past five years and that action needs to be taken.

Chairman of Valley Park Parish Council, Alan Dowden, has written to chief executives of both Test Valley and Eastleigh Borough Council, as the area affected is split between the boroughs.

Now, cllr Dowden, alongside MP Caroline Nokes, has joined Test Valley Borough Council in working to crackdown on the issue.

Residents in Eastleigh have said it has been a problem in Chandler's Ford and Hiltingbury for years, with Chandler's Ford councillor Margaret Atkinson is to raise the issue in the next local area committee.

A statement from Test Valley said: "We are aware that residents are understandably concerned about the problem of rats in the Valley Park area and we are working to get the issue under control as quickly as possible.

"The most effective course of action is to identify and deal with the nesting hotspots and the underlying causes for being there.

"Pest Control Officers have been baiting these areas with tamper-resistant bait boxes and this work is ongoing."

Cllr Dowden, who is also the borough and county councillor for Valley Park, wrote to both chief executives of Test Valley and Eastleigh in a bid to resolve the issue.

He said: "This needs a collaborative approach to solve this issue. It sounds as though everyone has realised the problem and are willing to work together. The county council has even been in touch with myself about this, which is promising."

Seventy-two-year-old Maggie Poland lives on Tyne Close and says the problem has gotten worse over the past four years.

She said: "Everything has to come together. People need to stop feeding the birds for a start and an effort put together to catch the rats.

"They are everywhere, in my garden, along the entire street. My neighbours are equally as frustrated. The rats don't care which side of the borough they are on."

Jane Pearce lives on Bodycoats Road in Chandler's Ford, and said tons of people had complained on social media.

She added: "I can't believe that this is a new problem. I'm sure I'm just echoing what everyone else has said, but a meeting needs to happen to sort out how to stop this."

MP Caroline Nokes said: "I remember very well in both the 2015 and 2017 General Elections speaking to residents and this was always the number one issue. I have discussed this with Test Valley Borough Council and have been assured they are doing everything possible. I understand this needs to be a combined approach by all of the local authorities in the area. I hope both councils can find a way forward as a matter of some urgency and I am willing to help in any way I can."