Declaring war on Spalding's pigeons
Investing in birds of prey or even setting someone loose with a shotgun were discussed as ‘radical’ solutions to finally rid Spalding of the pesky pigeons who are plaguing the town centre with their mess
Fed up councillors have reached the end of their tether with the feathered fiends - and feel they are ruining any efforts to spruce up Spalding.
Coun Angela Newton told members of the Spalding Town Forum that HSBC bank had brought in a team of cleaners to remove the mess around the entrance to the Hole in the Wall Passage - only for it to be as bad again within a week.
She said: “Why can’t we just shoot the blasted things?,” also adding: “We have got to do something radical with these pigeons. If at night we have got somebody with a 12 bore, get them in there.”
Forum chairman Roger Gambba-Jones had suggested bringing birds of prey into the town centre, saying this would be ‘more subtle’ than Coun Newton’s suggestion - which he felt might also draw opposition.
In recent years, towns such as Daventry, Workington and Bolton have deployed hawks and falcons to tackle their pigeon problems.
Coun Gambba-Jones, who referenced former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and referred to the birds as ‘flying rats’, said: “Once they get nested somewhere successfully they have a very good impact on things like pigeons.
“If it can work in large towns and cities I would think it would be very effective in somewhere like Spalding.”
It was said they could serve the ‘dual purpose’ of addressing the issues with pigeon mess at Spalding Railway Station.
Coun Liz Sneath added: “Unfortunately I am being told by residents of Spalding that people are feeding the pigeons - they are coming in to town with a bag of food.
“I know we all love birds but to encourage pigeons in the town is not good.”
Emily Spicer, South Holland District Council’s assistant director for communities and operations, said she shares members’ concerns about the ‘level of pigeon excrement’ which is ‘unpleasant’, ‘disappointing’ for street cleaning crews and ‘sets expectations’ of people walking through the town.
She said the council is finding it difficult to find the manpower for its ‘Pride in South Holland Crew’ that has tackled grot spots - and revealed the authority is looking to bring in a contractor to help.
At the forum meeting, on Wednesday night, members were given an update on plans to give the town centre a boost following the Covid crisis.
That work has included an audit of physical features in the town centre.
Coun Christine Lawton said the pigeon mess around the former Beales department store is ‘disgraceful’, while planters - such as those near Halifax and in Hall Place - are in a ‘dreadful state’.
She said the bird mess spoils any efforts to brighten up the town - and that the state of plant tubs detracts from the beauty of what’s inside them.
She added: “Get the basics right before we get into the big shiny stuff.”
Coun Gambba-Jones said it was frustrating that ‘new money’ would have to be spent tidying up old street furniture which has been neglected
He said: “While I absolutely support the care and maintenance of installed street furniture, this is where we let ourselves down.
“We are so keen to get this stuff installed but we never look after it.”
He added: “People keep saying we need to encourage visitors but we need to encourage our own people back into town let alone visitors.
“Let’s crack on with it rather than talking about it, let’s fix it.”