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Battisford: Campaigners victorious in noise battle with 200 parrots - now owner has to remove them

PUBLISHED: 17:46 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 18:05 08 October 2014

Mid Suffolk councillors have voted to dismiss an application to keep macaws in Battisford

Mid Suffolk councillors have voted to dismiss an application to keep macaws in Battisford

Hundreds of parrots will have to be removed from a property after neighbours argued their "health and wellbeing" had been affected by "unbearable" noise over five years.

The village sign in BattisfordThe village sign in Battisford

Sleep deprived residents in Battisford, near Stowmarket, believe the animals’ owner, Peter Hammond, has up to 500 of the birds.

Earlier today they won their case, when a retrospective application to keep the animals, as well as 10 gundogs, was dismissed by nine votes to one.

Mr Hammond’s daughter Angela Berry attended the Mid Suffolk District Council meeting in his place but declined to comment following the ruling. She defended keeping the animals and said her father has only up to 200 birds.

Mr Hammond will now have up to six months to challenge the decision.

A section of Battisford residents have protested against an application to keep 200 parrotsA section of Battisford residents have protested against an application to keep 200 parrots

Speaking after the meeting, Sarah Griffiths said it was an “enormous relief” for all the campaigners. In the hearing she claimed one neighbour had become so stressed because of the noise, described as “unbearable”, they had to have six months off work.

“The parrots, some of them macaws, emit what can only be described as alarming primeval squawks at random intervals sometimes for several hours each day,” she said.

“Every member of my family and most of our neighbours have suffered directly because of Mr Hammond’s hobby. We have gone to work exhausted and I have sent my children to school tired. We believe Mr Hammond’s hobby has devalued our area and compromised our health and wellbeing.

“It is a noise that is cruel and completely unnecessary.”

Leader of Mid Suffolk, Derrick Haley, criticised the authority’s environmental health team for not measuring the noise from the objectors’ homes.

But David Harrold, a senior environmental protection officer at the council, said that would not have been appropriate. He said council recordings found the level of noise to be high enough to lead to a “loss of amenity” but not a “statutory nuisance” despite sound at night breaching World Health Organisation guidelines.

Mrs Berry said a 10-foot high, four-foot deep straw bale wall had been erected in 2013 and extended this year to dampen the parrots’ noise, some of which are kept in open aviaries.

The area, she argued, already has many other noises, including helicopters from Wattisham Airfield.

She said: “The list of complaints which have been offered to the parish council have not been substantiated in any way and some are beyond belief.”

One neighbour, Louise Ashman, spoke in support of Mr Hammond. She said it was “wonderful” to have someone who “dedicates his life” to the parrots, some of which are close to being classed as “endangered”. She also claimed that no more noise was made than local pig farms.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said it would not be able to help with moving the animals but could offer advice on the best way to do so.

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