Resident’s gull nightmare

Seagulls are causing problems in residential areas.
Seagulls are causing problems in residential areas.

An Eastbourne man has demanded action to address the issue of seagulls in residential areas as they continue to make his life a ‘living hell’.

Nigel Hewett, who lives in Tenterden Close, says he has been attacked by seagulls 12 times in the last eight years, drawing blood twice and having two pairs of jeans torn.

He claims the problem is not helped by the nearby Eastbourne Homes residents, who feed the birds almost daily.

Mr Hewett said, “I know of at least 11 persons/addresses that feed the gulls within a 200 yard radius.

“The problem is getting worse each year and this issue will only get worse. Putting aside the attacks, the noise is the main gripe I have as it is all day and most of the night, especially when they are nesting and there is young.

“I go to bed wearing earplugs and still I am woken up at the crack of dawn (around 3am in the summer) and the thought of trying to work with just a few hours sleep every night is not very good.

“Sleep deprivation is a form of known torture and this is what I class living in Tenterden Close to be - hell, torture.”

Mr Hewett has proposed a number of ideas to Eastbourne Borough Council in the hope they may adopt a course of action, including pellets to stop the birds breeding and issuing fines to residents who feed them.

He added, “I have been given a mixed bag from Eastbourne Homes over the years ranging from ‘there is nothing we can do’, ‘we cannot stop the seagulls’, ‘we cannot stop people feeding the birds’ and on one occasion I was offered a house exchange!

“I appreciate that it is a thorny and difficult situation but as you can see from the countless letters in the paper it is one that is a real problem and needs to be dealt with.

“As much as I hate the pests I don’t wish them harm because at the end of the day they only nest and congregate where there is a food source.”

In a joint statement, Eastbourne Homes and Eastbourne Borough Council said, “Ensuring people and seagulls live in harmony is a challenge for all seaside towns. The legal measures available to a social landlord are limited and there are no local bye laws restricting the feeding of any birds.

“Eastbourne Homes Ltd works in partnership with the Environmental Health Department at Eastbourne Borough Council to educate residents to understand how feeding or careless rubbish disposal could impact on others. This has proved effective and it is to be expected that we would have to remind people to be considerate from time to time.

“We are open to ideas that may solve particular issues. Of course, these must be legal, practical and acceptable to all people in the community.”