Cockerels given extra year to quit town allotments

A cockerel watches over a white chicken. Dereham Town Council has said cockerels can stay on allotme

A cockerel watches over a white chicken. Dereham Town Council has said cockerels can stay on allotments for another 12 months. Picture: Simon Parker

Controversial cockerels that face eviction from a town allotment have been given another year before they have to leave.

Dereham Town Council’s recreation committee agreed in summer 2019 that it would give tenants 12 months notice to remove any cockerels from their plots.

The official notice was sent out in October 2019.

But on Tuesday, the council agreed by majority vote that all cockerels living on its allotments could stay until October 2021.

Amy-Jane Brooks said allotment users who kept cockerels should be given more time before they were removed in accordance with local policy.

“Cockerels have never been permitted on the allotments,” said town clerk Tony Needham. “It was just something we’d noticed. They were gradually creeping in. More and more people were having cockerels.

“Obviously since that notice was given there’s been a global emergency which may have affected people’s ability to re-home their cockerels.”

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Ms Brooks said she had been approached by some allotment holders hoping to keep their cockerels where they were until they died.

Ms Brooks explained that they had deemed this unreasonable, as allotment holders “could perhaps sneak on some extra cockerels and claim that they’ve been there for the whole time”.

Hilary Bushell pointed out that not a single complaint had been made about cockerels on allotments.

“If there’s no complaints,” she said, “why are we destroying living things? Sorry, but I’m a believer of live and let live.”

Harry Clarke said: “What’s the average lifespan of a cockerel?”

Mr Needham said they could live “longer than you’d think. Up to 10 years”.

Linda Monument floated a possible system in which individual cockerels could be registered, with unregistered cockerels could be removed.

Ms Monument conceded however that such an arrangement could result in “a council room full of cockerels”.