'Havoc' as squirrels invade Old Street council block

Squirrels in Old Street St Luke’s Estate Islington

Squirrels have been causing a nuisance - Credit: Archant

Squirrels have been ‘causing havoc’ on the balconies of an estate building, according to residents who have taken their plight to Islington Council. 

Tenants in Godfrey House on St Luke’s Estate near Old Street told the Gazette that the grey rodents have been destroying planting and defecating on property for three years. 

“They are generally really disruptive,” said one resident, who did not wish to be named, of the council-owned block.

“I know there are some elderly [neighbours] who are too scared to go up on their balconies. 

“Some of the squirrels have been quite aggressive and I’ve even heard of instances where squirrels have run in and entered apartments.”  

The resident claims the council has caused the problem by placing “a perfect vertical climbing frame” on the outside of the building through service cabling and pipes.  

He said: “I’m an architect and these should have been positioned in internal risers in the building, but basically they have gone for the cheapest route

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“It is quite outrageous that the council has caused the issue. They should have at least examined this so they could be aware that this may be the outcome. They should have [allocated] some council money to address it.”

The council arranged for a pest consultant to trap the squirrels which temporarily helped, however the trapping stopped after a few months.  

The pest consultant later suggested that residents should remove all their planting from the balconies which the resident said was “not at all reasonable”.

According to the resident, two measures which could realistically resolve the issue are regular squirrel trapping, and vermin prevention measures such as plastic domes and spikes.  

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We’re committed to making sure everyone has a secure, decent and genuinely affordable home.

“We’re taking action to deter squirrels from Godfrey House - for example we’ve installed environmental spikes to deter climbing - and we will continue to monitor the situation. 

“It’s important people don’t feed squirrels on or near the estate as this can encourage squirrels to the area.” 

The council added that Godfrey House’s external pipework and cabling is essential for residents in supplying electricity and meets relevant building regulations.  

The council has also flagged that squirrels can climb up lightning conductor strips, which are essential to the building’s safety and cannot have spikes or domes added to them.