Peak District noise row is ‘cock-a-doodle-crazy’

Eyam, controversial cockerel, Phillip and Caroline Sutcliffe

Eyam, controversial cockerel, Phillip and Caroline Sutcliffe

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A convicted cockerel has been given its marching orders by the council after a complaint was made about its early morning crowing.

Husband and wife Philip and Caroline Sutcliffe, who keep the bird along with some chickens on farmland next to their home in Eyam, were served with a noise abatement notice after a neighbour complained to Derbyshire Dales District Council about it.

“He’s got an ASBO on him,” Philip, 80, said.

“It just seems a bit ridiculous that someone would complain about the sound of a cockerel crowing in a rural village.”

The couple was told they would either have to stop the bird from crowing before 8am, or get rid of it by October 19. The pair claim they have tried everything to keep the bird quiet during the early hours, including keeping him in the dark and in a small space, but without success.

“Short of chopping his head off I don’t know how I can stop him from crowing,” Philip added.

When they moved to the village three years ago, they approached their neighbours about keeping poultry and no issues were raised with them.

Upon hearing the cockerel was facing eviction, a neighbour, who did not wish to be named, set up a petition to save it.

She said: “I have lived in my house for more than 60 years. I was a farmer’s daughter so I have never had a problem with it. It’s a country sound.”

She said she got around 28 signatures on the petition and gave it to Philip to hand in to the district council.

Philip, a retired engineer,is now looking for a new home for the cockerel.

“I won’t kill him, even if they prosecute me,” he said.

The district council is bound by law to act upon noise complaints.

Philip continued: “It beggars belief that people draw up these rules in London and I don’t think they’ve ever been to the countryside at all.”

A spokesman for the Derbyshire Dales District Council said: “It’s not appropriate for the district council to comment on the specifics of an on-going case, but it’s worth noting that the serving of a noise abatement notice allows for a variety of remedies to take place, including the relocation of the noise source.

“This advice has been clearly communicated by our officers in this case and is also readily available to view on our website at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/cockerels.”

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