More than half the residents at a Clerkenwell estate have signed a petition calling for Islington Council to return a waste storage area for residents’ use.

The petition was signed by 275 residents after the council leased a former bin area to a commercial laundry, a decision which the residents argue has led to a “rat infestation”.

Richard Larcombe, Finsbury Estate Tenants and Residents Association (FETRA), said the council did not consult with the households about the changes.

He said: “In response to these failings, a majority of tenants and residents on the estate have made their views known, through our petition. We now expect the council to listen to us, and as part of resolving the problems they have created, to terminate the lease agreement that they have inappropriately given to a private businessman for essential public land on our estate.”

The council stated that the space is not considered a matter of housing management, so it is not required to consult.

It added that the premise had not been used as a bin chamber for years and had been completely unused since 2018.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We’re determined to create strong communities, where residents feel a sense of pride and belonging. We are aware that residents have raised concerns about the bins on the Finsbury Estate and we are looking into how we can resolve this situation. There is an ongoing conversation with residents of the estate about additional funding that can be used to improve the waste storage options.

“We also plan to wash out all the communal food waste bins on the estate and, following reports of vermin on the estate, our pest control team has taken remedial action with some success. We will continue to monitor this issue and advise residents to get in touch with us if there are particular locations causing concern.

“We are aware that some residents have concerns about the use of the former Finsbury Estate bin store. We are working with the tenant to ensure that the terms of the lease are complied with and we are listening carefully to feedback from residents.”