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 Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn on the lower part of Assumption Road, below Pope’s Hill, Blackpool. Overgrowth, including invasive knotweed, is now covering the pathways in the area, which is rat-infested and the scene of anti-social behaviour. Picture: Larry Cummins
Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn on the lower part of Assumption Road, below Pope’s Hill, Blackpool. Overgrowth, including invasive knotweed, is now covering the pathways in the area, which is rat-infested and the scene of anti-social behaviour. Picture: Larry Cummins
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Rats, drugs, unholy mess in Blackpool

AN overgrown area on Pope’s Hill in Blackpool which is rife with knotweed is jeopardising pedestrian safety and attracting rats and anti-social behaviour, a local councillor has said.

Kenneth O’Flynn (FF) has expressed concern at the City Council-owned site which contains a derelict house that is suffering from years of neglect.

Mr O’Flynn has said he has also been made aware of illegal activity on the site due to the shelter the overgrowth provides, while the invasive knotweed plant is being spread from the area to other places nearby.

“You have a majority of elderly people living on Pope’s Hill. It’s so overgrown, you have to step out on the road to get up the hill. There is Japanese knotweed in there and the Gardaí have been informed of people stashing illegal substances in the overgrowth,” he said.

“There is a path, which is spreading the knotweed throughout Blackpool. The whole place has been left overgrown by Cork City Council. There is planning to knock a derelict building and put five housing units in there.

“I am concerned about health and safety issues. There are hand railings that people can’t reach on the hill when it’s slippery because they are covered in growth and there are natural springs in the rock face, rendering it icy, and there is nothing for people to hold on to.

“There is a stop sign on the road covered in growth and an entire footpath which people can’t use and they are having to step out on the road,” he added.

Mr O’Flynn has also been made aware of sightings of rats on another overgrown patch of land just metres away from Pope’s Hill between Assumption Road and the N20.

Locals on Assumption Road and Mount Farran use a pathway adjacent to the land — which is believed to be privately owned — to access Blackpool daily. It is regularly strewn with litter.

“If there is a rat infestation in the area it is because we are not maintaining the area and not enforcing people into maintaining their land properly,” he said.

“The council needs to act quickly to safeguard the health and safety of people living and working in the area. It is an extremely busy road now with the tax office located there and you have a number of school children taking the route.

“It’s a disaster area. All of Blackpool needs to be looked at in terms of landscaping because it has been neglected terribly. It has to be cut back and maintained to an acceptable standard because the current state of it is unacceptable,” he added.