Call to Change Council Policy
A single mother with a young baby living in the West Ward and on benefits, suddenly discovered the house she had occupied for six months was infested with ants.
The insects were coming from nests behind the wall and were everywhere. She tried herself to get rid of the pests to no avail so in a distressed state contacted both Livin and the County Council.
Livin could do nothing and said the County Council pest control team would do the job but they had to charge in the region of £40 which had to be paid up front.
The young mother was now completely stressed as she only had money to feed herself and the child. The problem was worsening and she could not live in these conditions.
She rang Newton Press who along with the help of County Councillor John Clare tried to resolve the problem, but as it was the weekend there was no one to deal with this emergency and it would have to wait until Monday morning. The young mother was forced to leave her home and stay with her parents fearing for her child’s safety
The County Council still insisted money was paid up front as there was no contingency fund to help people who had no money or who are faced with the choice of feeding themselves or paying for ants to be removed!
Councillor Clare agreed with Newton News this was unacceptable and a new policy would have to be considered to help people in these circumstances, however this would take time and the problem was now!
In the meantime the young mother still had thousands of ants scurrying around so in complete frustration with the authorities, Newton Press contacted Aycliffe Pest Control business Dave Oliver who agreed to help the mother that day and donated his services to help the young mother. The town’s Rotary Club was also happy to help if needed. It would have been nice to report the Council had the same concern and goodwill.
This is not an isolated case and a few people find themselves in this awful predicament. Newton News believe there has to be a method of dealing with these stressful situations. Tenancy agreements are all well and good if the person has the means to comply, but concessions should be made when a person has no money and where a measure of compassion and consideration is required.
Newton News also believes this should have been dealt with free of charge as an environmental health issue as the infestation could have spread to nearby houses.
Newton News have also discovered that flying ants are listed in the Institute of Environmental Health as a recognised pest along with rats, cockroaches, beetles etc.