Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hordle New Forest peacock removal opposed

Peacock with tail feathers spread
Image caption Residents have reared up in opposition with each other over the birds

A battle has begun over plans to remove peacocks roaming through a New Forest village.

Eight ornamental birds have caused damage to gardens and left droppings in Hordle's school playground, prompting the parish council to rehome them.

But more than 170 residents have opposed the plans, calling the birds emblematic of the village.

The council has brought in pest controllers to relocate the birds to country estates in Dorset.

Despite the birds beauty, many residents say they are destroying plants in gardens, entering homes and making noise early in the morning.

Staff at the primary school say children are treading in and bringing faeces on their hands as well as on their shoes which gets into carpets, costing time and money to clean up.

A council statement said: "The parish council has agreed to capture and rehome the birds with the help of the school and local residents and as such an order has been placed with a contractor to undertake this work."

'Delightful creatures'

However, scores of residents have signed a petition opposing the plans.

Local resident Chrissie Bailey, who started the Save the Peacocks petition, said: "I've been in this area for 38 years and we've always had peacocks roaming free.

"I am aware they do damage, but they are also delightful creatures.

"I really adore them, I find them gentle and non-threatening.

"We would like to make a compromise and perhaps keep some of them with clipped wings, so they can't fly into people's gardens and do the alleged damage.

"It would be the saddest thing ever to lose such a British tradition."

The pest control team plans to befriend the birds in order to approach them, capture them and move them on.

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