Bird-lover in Battisford told to get rid of huge parrot collection after noise complaints

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A bird-lover has been ordered to get rid of his huge collection of parrots at his semi-detached home.

Long-suffering neighbours say Peter Hammond has made their lives unbearable with his giant flock of exotic birds.

The 76 year-old, who describes himself as a breeder, keeps the parrots at his house, in Battisford, and a series of cages in his back garden.

He insists he only has around 200 but fed-up locals say there are more than twice that number.

They say the birds start loudly squawking at 5am and carry on endlessly through the day.

They told a council their health and wellbeing has been badly affected since Mr Hammond and his birds arrived in Battisford five years ago.

The residents have now won a long-running campaign with Mid-Suffolk District Council rejecting a retrospective application by Mr. Hammond to keep the birds - plus 10 gundogs.

He will now have to find new homes for his huge managerie - although he has six months in which to appeal.

Neighbour Sarah Griffiths, 49, said the decision was an ‘enormous relief’.

She told the council that one neighbour had become so stressed because of the ‘unbearable’ noise they had to have six months off work.

She said: “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.

“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.”

She told an earlier meeting: “This has been going on for about five years now and the number of parrots we are talking about are 400 to 500, so we believe.

“We had to go inside when we tried to have a family meal out there because of the noise.”

The council heard that a wall of straw bales 10ft high and 4ft deep had been erected in 2013 and extended this year in a bid to create a sound barrier - but it had largely failed.

Many of the birds are kept in open aviaries and their noise carried a long way.

David Harrold, senior environmental protection officer at the council, said recordings found the noise level to be high enough to lead to a ‘loss of amenity’ but not a ‘statutory nuisance’.

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

Parish chairman Chris Knock said they had looked at the possibility of a zoo licence for Mr Hammond but he had responded by saying that he was not running a business.

Mr Hammond’s daughter Angela Berry attended the meeting in his place and said he only had up to 200 birds at his home.

She argued that the village had many other noises, including helicopters from a nearby 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.”

Mr Hammond, who declined to comment, will now have up to six months to challenge the decision.