Ramsgate towerblock residents’ frustration as bedbug ‘plague’ remains untreated

Trove Court resident George Wilson says he has had enough

Residents in at least ten flats in a Ramsgate towerblock are still waiting for a full bedbug treatment to be carried out despite East Kent Housing having funding in place for weeks.

Desperate Trove Court resident George Wilson says he has paid for treatments but still ends up ‘getting eaten alive’ because the bugs can’t be eradicated unless the entire block is done.

The 57-year-old former chef has lived at block for three years and says the bed bugs have been a continual problem.

He said: “The place is riddled with them. I was homeless before I moved in and feel like I would have been better off staying in the tent.

“I complained the first year and joined the residents’ group last year who brought it up with the council.

“My leg is red raw because you are just scratching until you bleed and there is one woman who has got big lumps on her skin.

“I have had enough and I know there are at least ten flats affected. No-one is doing anything to help.”

It is understood funding for the full block treatment has been in place for a considerable time as part of the overall yearly maintenance budget.

Deputy leader at Thanet council, Helen Whitehead, has been in contact with residents and says work is taking place to get the issue resolved. She has been carrying out a systematic inspection of the blocks alongside a tenant representative.

She said: “I have been contacted by and am working with several residents to try and get ongoing issues resolved as soon as possible. Our residents deserve safe, secure and well maintained housing, and this is an ongoing issue that needs remedy now as our residents are suffering.

“We will continue to work with East Kent Housing to support them in whatever way is needed, and I am available to any resident who needs support. It is our duty and our privilege to support our tenants and TDC are committed to ensuring that residents receive the level of care that they are entitled to.”

Trove Court and Kennedy House

The block is currently under the care of East Kent Housing, which manages properties for Thanet, Dover, Folkestone and Canterbury councils. That arrangement is due to end by October following a series of health and safety failings discovered at some of the properties that EKH was managing for the councils.

Staff at East Kent Housing and the services it provides are set to transfer to the four councils that own it at close of play on September 30 this year. This means Thanet’s housing will then be managed by the council rather than an external company.

A spokesman for East Kent Housing said contractors have been appointed to carry out the work but a date has not yet been set.

He said: “Contractors have been engaged and will be working with EKH colleagues and residents to establish a full management plan being put in place along with complete treatments.

“As we are making arrangements with contractors and residents, no date has yet been made. However, as soon as a date has been agreed, residents will be notified when the treatment will be taking place.”