‘Hostile rat-infested’ caravan web site ‘worse than jail’ too scary for posties

Rat-infested, litter-strewn and sewage-smelling caravan site is considered too dangerous for service workers to visit.

Residents in Gravesham, Kent, are claiming a park where eight Roma and Traveller families live, has been abandoned by the local council and Royal Mail workers following allegations of “anti-social behaviour” towards staff.

Each plot on the dilapidated land features a static home, a shed for bathing facilities and space for trailers and caravans. Priscilla, 62, a resident who has lived at the site since she was 16, reminisced: “When this was run properly it was like a garden centre.”

READ MORE: Rat-infested UK estate where kids don’t go out as vermin ‘jump out of wheelie bins’

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However, the current state of the site tells a very different story, with foul smells emanating from backed-up sewers, piles of litter scattered every few steps, and a daily rat infestation. Rainfall exacerbates the situation, causing flooding due to blocked drains allegedly filled with cement.

car in skip
Nothing to see here

The council admits the site is “challenging site” and claims it’s a “hostile environment to enter for our own staff”, making repairs difficult.

Priscilla added: “People come here and look at the mess, the way we’re living they think we’re dirty people but we’re not because it’s not us. I’ve given up, it’s distressing we can’t live like this.”

Another long-term resident said: “It’s a s*******, I feel ashamed when people come here. This is the worst it has ever been you’re better off in a prison.”

caravan site
Conditions on the site are well past their best

Local Betsy added: “We’re in a land time forgot. If you want something done you’ve got to do it yourself. There is zero maintenance there’s no one, private contractors won’t come because it’s council land.”

In addition to the poor condition of the site, residents are also frustrated by the lack of services. Many don’t have bins or lids, leading to foxes tearing open rubbish bags and scattering waste across the area.

They also complain that refuse collectors do not regularly pick up their waste.

Fly tip
Refuse collectors are reportedly not regular visitors to the site

Royal Mail workers are giving the site a wide berth, refusing to deliver post directly to residents due to safety concerns. Instead, locals have to trek into town and flash their ID at the post office to see if they’ve got any mail waiting for them.

A Gravesham Borough Council spokesperson admitted: “The Denton site is a challenging one to manage and maintain. It has a history of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage, which directly impacts the lives of those living there.

“It can be a hostile environment to enter for our own staff and outside contractors, making routine maintenance difficult and unnecessarily delaying emergency repairs when they are needed. Indeed, a number of agencies will not attend the site unless accompanied by the police due to previous instances of facing threats of violence and intimidation, which is the sole reason some of the issues raised by tenants remain outstanding.

caravan site
Eight Roma and Traveller families live on the site ‘abandoned’ by the council

“Ourselves and partner agencies have a duty of care to our own employees, and we will not send them into situations where we believe they may be at risk. We continue to work with the tenants to find ways we can carry out necessary work on-site.

“The actions connected to the site have repercussions beyond its boundaries and affect the lives and wellbeing of the neighbouring communities, an example being the lack of bus services to the area as operators are unwilling to put their drivers and vehicles at risk.

Each plot on the run-down land consists of a static home, a shed for bathing and space to keep trailers and caravans

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“Despite all of this, we take our responsibilities as a landlord seriously and are working together with partner agencies, including those concerned with the health and welfare of those on site, to find long-term solutions for the issues we face at Denton.

“However, there can be no shying away from the fact that the tenants have their own roles to play in improving living conditions there.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The safety of our staff is of the utmost importance to Royal Mail and the suspension of deliveries is always a last resort.”