Albatross club wants action on pigeons

A neglected property on Marine Arcade has become home to nesting pigeons and rats.

Wednesday, 24th June 2009, 11:04 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 7:58 pm

These are a health hazard according to immediate neighbours who hope for quick action from Rother District Council before the infestation gets any worse.

The manager of the Albatross Club claims a rat recently dropped out of the rafters of the passageway while he was opening up, and then scampered away.

The Albatross Club is home to the Royal Air Force Association and now committee members are calling on Rother to deal with this unsightly problem which could stop newcomers from joining.

Chairman of the Bexhill branch David Stevens said the property had been bought by a developer four years ago who started building work on it but then gave up.

The roof of the passageway between, which leads to flats facing onto Marine Arcade and Channel View, also collapsed leaving rafters exposed, where pigeons have since moved in.

David, along with RAFA charman Len Oliver, has made a number of approaches to the council's Environmental Health Department but so far with no result.

David said: "We can't get anything done. We can't get scaffolding up there to do anything because it doesn't belong to us, and that is preventing the Albatross Club from having the work done and making the place safe

"We as a branch have spent over 22,000 on doing this premises up - now we have come to a full stop.

"We have still to do the roof but we don't know who owns what. No-one will agree who owns the passageway."

He added: "I think this is typical - it really is. I said to the Environmental Health Officer we have 652 members in this club; they are not all active but if they did suddenly descend upon us, what would they think as they walk into this club with that unslightly mess outside."

Manager Geoff Wentworth is complaining that pigeon droppings near the entrance are a potential danger to members of the club and can lead to illness such as psittacosis.

He commented: "This is not good for business. It really isn't. It makes the place look rundown and shabby. Hastings fifteen years ago used to be dirty and rundown and Bexhill used to be nice, and now they seem to be reversed. Then in Hastings they had this Grotbuster programme - I don't understand this this isn't happening here, but it really isn't."

Rother District Council head of environmental health Richard Parker-Harding said: "The Council takes any report of this nature seriously and investigations began as soon as we were made aware of the problems at Marina.

"Officers are still working on the case.

"Steps are being taken to find the owner of the passageway to get the mess cleared up '“ should the owner fail to do so, we can serve a notice through the courts.

"Similarly, we are in the process of tracing the owner of the half-finished building. It is possible the Council may be able to serve a notice insisting pest control measures are improved.

"In the meantime, environmental health officers are due to visit and will happily give advice to the RAFA Club on pest control. As a commercial, food-selling premises the club will have to deal with any pests which cross on to their property.

"Unfortunately the processes we have to follow can be frustratingly slow in some cases, but by going through the proper procedures we are hopeful of securing the means to prevent further pest problems next door to the RAFA Club in the long-term."