RESIDENTS terrified of seeing their homes overrun by rats were the victims of a “leg pull”, according to councillors.

There were fears that houses near the Outwood playing fields would again be subjected to a vermin invasion after workmen claimed to be extending the Radcliffe Paper Mill’s rag dump.

Homeowners had experienced rat troubles during the summer, and told their local councillors that the problem would be exacerbated if the dump was extended closer to their houses.

However, Cllr S Threlfall, speaking at a meeting of the council’s Parks Committee this week, said that the supposed plans to extend the dump were no more than a bad joke.

While the workmen claimed to be levelling the land in preparation for a new dump site, the field is infact being handed over the council to be used for recreational developments.

He said: “This was a rather unfortunate incident, and just a bit of a leg pull. The men working there had nothing to do with the rag dump whatsoever.

“I understand that the land is almost ready to be handed over and we also think that on that area in the near future will be the site for the playing equipment we intend to provide for children.”

Cllr Jack Schofield told the meeting that residents needed to be reassured that they could look forward to a time when the dump would no longer be a blot on the “marvellous” playing fields and would be landscaped.

Meanwhile, the council is set to oppose plans for the tipping of industrial waste on land adjoining the former power station at Outwood.

The proposals, from Stoneclough manufacturers R Fletcher and Sons, would see waste dumped on the 20-acre site for a period of 20 years.

Councillors sitting on the area’s development committee are recommending that the application is refused outright, and that they inform Lancashire County Council of the strong opposition to the proposal.

It is hoped that the land can instead become part of a large scale reclamation scheme across the Irwell and Croal valleys, which would be set back decades if the application was approved.