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Valuable pigeons face slaughter

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Tuesday 5th August 2014
Barnsley pigeon fanciers' club

DOZENS of valuable racing birds face slaughter after the council ordered members of a Barnsley pigeon fanciers' club to tear down their lofts.

The Barnsley Milers Club has been next to the beer garden at the Bridge Inn, Burton Road, Monk Bretton, for more than 16 years. But now the elderly members have been told to pull the lofts, housing about 160 birds, down within 28 days or face prosecution.

Secretary Eric Pickersgill, 74, of Chatsworth Road, Athersley South, said: "We were invited by the then pub landlord to tidy up a small piece of overgrown land to erect our lofts.

"We then approached the council for funding and met a councillor called Roy Robinson. He said we couldn't have a grant but said there would be no problem to build our own lofts.

"Keeping the birds is what we live for. What are we supposed to do with them?"

A council spokesman said: "These are standard letters the council sends out to anyone who is encroaching on council land, who doesn't have the necessary permission to use or develop on it. However, the council will consider any official approach to use its land, if considered appropriate and subject to planning permission if required."

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Posted by krissie I Tue 5th Aug 2014 at 12:19pm

Barnsley Council strikes again. Those guys are doing something meaningful in their spare time and have put a lot of time and effort into enjoying their pasttime and for what? Help build up the community for goodness sake, not tear it down!!

Posted by Linda I Tue 5th Aug 2014 at 12:33pm

I agree with the previous comment. What harm are these gentlemen doing for goodness sakes?

Posted by Simon I Tue 5th Aug 2014 at 4:55pm

I'd have thought that having used the land continuosly for 16 years without the council making any prior complaint that they have "squatters rights" and as such the council have no right to remove them from what has become land owned by the pigeon fanciers.

As a very minimum they're in a position to force the council to negotiate their continued usage IF the council are able to prove they still retain title to the land.

Posted by Jill martin I Tue 5th Aug 2014 at 7:54pm

These men have been here for 16 yrs with no bother whatsoever , so why all of a sudden do the council want em to move , over 120 pigeons will have to be slaughtered , I thought people were against killing of animals , birds etc it's disgusting their not hurting anyone , leave them alone

Posted by adele burton I Tue 5th Aug 2014 at 10:02pm

my dad raced pigeons when I was younger I don't see what harm they are doing its an hobby that they love why carnt the council leave them alone

Posted by Sharon I Wed 6th Aug 2014 at 8:27am

These men should be made to pay rent on the land and have it back dated 16 years. They are not benefiting the community. I live near the lofts, they attract rats and the pigeons are a pain in the bum. People jump on the councils back when really they are doing their job.

Posted by emmett I Wed 6th Aug 2014 at 3:54pm

The late Messrs Covell and Hayward, who raced from Frickley and South Kirkby will no doubt be turning in their graves at this sad news.

Posted by Lesley I Thu 7th Aug 2014 at 5:05pm

Our pigeons WILL NOT be slaughtered regardless. My dad has loved racing his pigeons from here and it's the one thing that keeps him going. After all these years you would think the council would be more tolerant. These are mainly pensioners enjoying themselves while they still can.

Posted by kate cotterill I Thu 7th Aug 2014 at 9:27pm

This is sickening. If there's a protest or petition, I'll be there!

Posted by Gail Milner I Thu 7th Aug 2014 at 9:54pm

Sharon, the comment about 16 years of rents works both ways. The council actually did,nt own the lland then NBC did. The letter recieved by my Dad Eric Pickersgill from the council ststes they would like the land back in the state it was in 16 years ago. Now the problem with this is the expense of allocating burnt out cars, beds and old furniture that these men voluntarily moved and actually waiting for it all to badly overgrow again! They have no qualms whatsoever about paying a nominal rent as do allotment holders etc to continue with this time honoured pastime. And as for being of no benefit to the community, they are part of the community! I,d really like to know of what benefit you are to it?

Posted by Richard I Thu 7th Aug 2014 at 11:09pm

Sharon , you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Rats and mice are a pigeons fanciers worst nightmare as they spread disease to the pigeons which will affect there health and performance on race days.

Im sure these blokes keep on top of any rodent probs for the sake of there birds.

The council should be ashamed , if more waste land could be turned into clubs like this or allotments Barnsley would be a better place for it,

Good luck lads

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