ANGRY residents and the council are in dispute over an alleyway which has become an overgrown mess complete with a dead rat.
Homeowners are demanding action to improve the state of the narrow, cobbled alley which runs between Swinley Road and Hornby Street.
Lin Cotgrave, of Swinley Road, says the final straw came when the dead rodent was recently discovered in the ginnel, which is also over-run with weeds and strewn with abandoned rubbish bins.
Mrs Cotgrave said she believed Wigan Council was responsible for cleaning the alley, which runs along the back of her house, as she thought town hall workmen had previously gated it off, but the local authority has firmly denied it has any duty to tidy the area.
Mrs Cotgrave, 65, said: “That ginnel is an absolute disgrace. It’s just a tip, a complete mess.
“There’s weeds about six feet tall, bins are never brought in from one week to the next and at one point there was a three-piece suite dumped there, although that did get moved when I complained about it.
“I went out there earlier this week and there was a dead rat there.
“The flies in the summer when it’s warm and you have the doors open are just unbelievable.
“I’m sick of ringing the council up about it. We’ve even been down to the offices and they said it wasn’t their responsibility, but I believe it is because I’m sure it was the council who put the gates on two or three years ago.
“I watched the TV programme Call The Council and they went up to the top of Swinley cleaning up all the alleyways, it was left looking lovely. I just thought: ‘Well, you didn’t come down here, you missed this bit.’
“I think part of the problem is there’s a lot of rented houses along there now. As the houses have become empty people have bought them and rented them out, and no-one really cares about looking after rented properties, do they?”
Wigan Council has said it is not responsible for the alleyway but will send workmen to sort out the area in response to the complaints of Mrs Cotgrave and her fellow residents.
A town hall spokesman said: “The alleyway is not an adopted road and so the council are not responsible for its maintenance.
“As such, the alleyway is not on any cleansing schedules. However, as a gesture of goodwill, a cleansing team has been assigned to clear the area next week.”
Although the exact status of the alleyway is unclear it is likely to be classified as an unadopted road despite its narrow width.
Residents whose properties front unadopted roads are generally expected to maintain them, but in the case of the Swinley alley the homes on both sides back onto it.