Sidmouth hotel seeks seagull solution

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 May 2013

One legged seagull at Exmouth

One legged seagull at Exmouth

Archant

Visitors to Sidmouth often complain they are plagued by seagulls, but the owners of one hotel have found an answer from above – and now a bird of prey rules the roost.

Victoria Hotel bosses have brought back their feathered friend to scare off the scavengers that nested on the roof.

Members of the Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association were looking for a seagull solution when the Esplanade hotel’s peregrine falcon was brought up.

Mike Fletcher, owner of The Hollies guesthouse, said: “It’s a problem in this whole town.”

He added that seagulls steal food and become aggressive when protecting their young.

“They get worked up into a frenzy,” he said. “I’ve seen them go bonkers and attack an elderly couple on a bench.”

In addition, his guests have complained about the noise, which meant he spent £500 last year trying to deter them from nesting on the roof of his guest house.

But Mike said the neighbouring properties were unprotected so he had just displaced them, and the birds continued to disturb him and his guests.

He asked for it to be placed on the council agenda, and the town clerk explained what the options were.

Christopher Holland said: “A seagull cull is not viable – they are a protected bird.”

He said the problem was litter, but that the pest-proof wheelie bins on the seafront had gone some way to countering that.

Mr Holland added that the options were to install spikes on buildings to prevent roosting, or possibly to boil the birds’ eggs before replacing them.

This has the effect of deterring the seagulls from laying any more eggs.

The clerk said that interfering with the eggs would be an East Devon District Council issue, and it was rejected last time. Mike asked for hotels and businesses in the town to work together with the town council to find a solution.


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