Oliver the cockerel accused of crowing too loudly

Mel Lawrenson tends her poultry
Mel Lawrenson tends her poultry

It looks like a picture postcard scene as Mel Lawrenson tends her poultry at her rural home at Claughton on Brock, near Preston.

But instead of cock a doodle do it’s a case of cock a doodle don’t for Oliver the cockerel who is at the centre of an extraordinary dispute over its morning

Oliver at home in Claughton on Brock

Oliver at home in Claughton on Brock

crows.

The rescued fowl has been accused of disturbing the rural calm in this little corner of Lancashire by crowing from dawn.

His owner could be served with a noise abatement notice or fined after a resident complained that Oliver’s wake up call is a serious noise nuisance.

Wyre Council is poised to carry out sound checks and make site visits if needed.

Mel received a letter telling her of allegations from a local farm of “noise nuisance due to cockerel crowing - from dawn for two or three hours.”

Due to a council bungle she was also sent a copy of an earlier letter which should have gone to the complainer enclosing diary sheets to list when the noise occurs, its frequency and duration and its effect.

Planner Mel, who runs ML Planning from her home in Stubbins Lane, where she has lived for nearly five years said: “I’ve had Oliver about three years. I rescued him. I‘ve had him all this time - I don’t know why they’re complaining now. I’ve always had a cockerel.”

She says she believes the crowing is just one of a range of sounds which go with living in the country - from sheep and lambs baaing loudly through the night at lambing time to tractors and chainsaws.

She said: “He crows for about half an hour when he first gets up when daylight breaks...it’s a background country noise.”

By coincidence Mel had previously taken up the case of a local couple who were subject to complaints about the noise their guinea fowl made.

Now she too is the recipient of a letter warning that if the council find the noise so loud as to constitute a statutory nuisance it could serve her with a noise abatement notice. Failure to comply could lead to the cockerel being seized and/or prosecution with a fine up to £5,000.

She added: “It’s quite stressful I’ve got to deal with all this ...It’s ridiculous you can’t live in the countryside and not like the noises of the countryside.” If the council feels the noise constitutes anti-social behaviour Mel could be issued with a community protection notice.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The council is currently investigating a case of noise nuisance and it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Both Mel and the complainant have been advised that the council offers a free, confidential and impartial mediation service.