Local county councillor Caroline Page has warned that the swallows and house martins that have nested in the station buildings for generations have been forced out by its redecoration and the installation of anti-pigeon measures like metal spikes and netting in the roof.

She said the swallows’ nests had been removed during the redecoration of the station and their departure had prompted the pigeons to move in.

She added: “It’s really sad and actually something needs to be done and it needs to be done now. In 160 years I don’t think they (the swallows and martins) have caused any damage.

“It’s a natural joy that is being taken away from us. It must be done at once. The birds are flying back from Africa now.”

She said the sight of the swallows and martins swooping over the station during the spring and summer was a real bonus for rail passengers – and feared their departure would be missed by many rail users.

Bird experts doubt that the disappearance of the swallows led pigeons to colonise the station – saying the species can co-exist quite happily. However they also doubt the effectiveness of anti-pigeon measures.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia, which operates the station, said they were working with the RSPB and local wildlife groups to make the station more attractive songbirds and species like swallows, martins, and swifts.

She said: “We are planning to put up bird boxes and if there are nests we can install for swallows and martins we will do that – we are looking at changing the netting so they can use the station.

“But we have to do something about the pigeons. We have had an infestation of the birds and their droppings are very unpleasant.

“Not only do they look and smell very nasty, they are unhygenic and they are very acidic so they can cause considerable damage to the fabric of the station that has only recently been redecorated.

“We have to do something to reduce the problems they cause.”

Greater Anglia supplied pictures showing the mess that had been left on station furniture and equipment – and said it was impossible to keep it clean all the time.


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