Community wins fight to keep wildlife feeding table

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

A community has won a battle to keep a feeding table which has become a haven for local wildlife, after the council demanded it to be taken down.  

Ian and Karen Warnes from Bridal Way, in Watton, put up the table on land opposite their home during the first lockdown, so they could watch wildlife come and go from their front room.  

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

Animals including, squirrels, deer, pheasants and woodpeckers have been regularly spotted at the feeding spot. 

Two weeks ago, Mr Warnes said they received a letter from Breckland Council demanding to take it down – which had been put on their land without permission. 

Angered by this letter, Mr Warnes asked for a permit to keep the table which was then denied. 

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

He took to Facebook to see what the community had to say about it.  

The 55-year-old said: “It has been a difficult year. I have been furloughed eight times and I’m not going back to work until the beginning of June. 

Ian and Karen Warnes from Watton.

Ian and Karen Warnes from Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

Most Read

“But watching the animals has been lovely. It has kept me sane and given me something to do.  

“It has cost me hundreds of pounds in food - nearly £25 a week. 

“When we got that letter from Breckland Council I was angry and I thought 'why after a year you have only just noticed it?' I thought ‘what can I do?’. So, I stuck my heels in and said 'no it's staying.'” 

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

With hundreds of likes and comments on Facebook, residents and town councillors urged Breckland Council to allow the bird feeding tale to remain. 

And Breckland has now said that the wildlife feeding station can stay. 

A Breckland Council spokesman said: “As a responsible landowner we regularly inspect our property and its use.

"While the animal feeder was installed without our permission, we are keen to find a solution which secures a positive outcome for everyone, including local wildlife.

"We are currently in conversations with the owner of the animal feeder to agree a way forward and hope to resolve this shortly.”

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes

Mr Warnes, a ground source heating engineer, added: “We couldn’t believe it.

“It was through the power of the people and Facebook; it just shows what you can do.  

“There was so much support from hundreds of people. I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped.” 

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton.

The wildlife feeding station located on land at the Bridle Way in Watton. - Credit: Ian Warnes