A UK town centre has been inundated with bird poo from a “growing number” of seagulls and pigeons, according to fed-up residents.
Ashford Borough Council in Kent was even looking to bring in a hawk to scare off the winged pests. However the plans were dropped after authority bosses found there was an “insufficient need” for the feathered protector.
Locals have been left frustrated by the U-turn, with business owners in the particularly hard-hit Park Mall calling for something to be done to rid the area of nesting pigeons. Vince Monticelli, who owns The Record Store in the council-owned shopping centre, said: “You walk around and they are cooing above you.
“All the babies are squawking and then they could poo on you. I think they are an issue and the council probably should’ve got the hawk,” he added.
Plans to introduce the hawk were first discussed last year. The council, currently run by a coalition of independents and the Green Party, was planning to launch a four-month trial, which would see a bird handler walk around with the hawk on their arm on a weekly basis.
The bird was also expected to make for an “interesting attraction” for shoppers as well as helping to rid the town centre of less desirable animals. However the trial has since been axed and the authority now says it is “keeping the situation under review”.
A spokesman said: “We have researched carefully and following consultation with relevant stakeholders and local businesses we believe at this time there is an insufficient need for a hawk service to be introduced to the town centre.”
And others have speculated the hawk could cause more trouble than it’s worth. Connor Moon, a staff member at Simply Vape on the town’s high street, reckons locals could be frightened by the predator – and said the local birds weren’t causing any real issues.
“The birds don’t do us any harm, I’ve never noticed any bird mess on the windows of the shop,” Connor said. “They all gather outside the shop in the high street because people often sit and feed them.
“Some people may be scared of a hawk. Pigeons aren’t an issue and if a hawk was brought in, it could stop some people coming here altogether.”