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Taking my 50 pigeons is like ‘cutting my arms and legs off’- housing association refuses to let man keep birds

PUBLISHED: 14:20 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 12 July 2018

Peter Skelton's pigeons. Picture: Peter Skelton

Peter Skelton's pigeons. Picture: Peter Skelton

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A pensioner fears he will have to give up his flock of 50 racing pigeons after a housing association said he can not move them to his new home.

Mr Skelton's loft. Picture: Peter SkeltonMr Skelton's loft. Picture: Peter Skelton

Peter Skelton, 60, lives with dementia and is moving to a property owned by Saffron Housing in Wacton, near Long Stratton. He has been racing pigeons across Europe for the past 40 years.

But Saffron says that he can not keep the pigeons in the new property because they must take into account the welfare of neighbours and the community.

It said: “Whilst we are not able to comment on our residents personal circumstances, the case is a mutual exchange which has been offered in line with our deed of assignment tenancy conditions.

“When making decisions of this nature we give careful consideration to the needs and personal circumstances of our residents, as well as those of immediate neighbours and the wider community.”

Peter Skelton hopes he can keep his 50 pigeons. Picture: Peter SkeltonPeter Skelton hopes he can keep his 50 pigeons. Picture: Peter Skelton

Mr Skelton has offered to reduce the number of pigeons he would keep and wants to have a trial period of six months which he says Saffron declined.

Mr Skelton said: “I don’t think they understand about racing pigeons. You have to send 20 or more to the race, say in France, Spain or where they are racing from.

“My loft will be empty most of the time with race birds away. They are not old pigeons that sit about on markets eating chips, them pigeons give people like myself a bad name.

“Do you think the Queen would have her racing pigeons doing that? Us racing people keep our birds in top condition and lofts spotless.

“Telling me I can’t race is like cutting my arms and legs off.”

Mr Skelton said the birds cost him thousands and he does not want to give them up.

He added: “All I ask is for a six month trial. Any complaints in that time, I’ll pack them up but there won’t be any.

“I’ve never had a problem in 40 years so why should there be one now?”

He says that Saffron have offered to let him keep five pigeons in a loft but not 50. If Mr Skelton was to erect his loft at the new home he would first have to apply for planning permission at South Norfolk Council.

Because he does not own the property he is not able to make that decision and must have approval from Saffron Housing first.

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