REMOVING pigeons and their mess from the Gaskell Memorial Tower in Knutsford is set to cost Knutsford Town Council £1,300.

The tower is part of 60 King Street, a building owned by the council, which is set to see a new tenant move into the property.

During a condition survey of the building it was discovered pigeons had regained entry into the tower through an open window and a dislodged louvre cover.

The town council has obtained quotations for work to gain access through the tower, taking into account the condition of the staircase, to close the window, block the louvre vent and remove any pigeons. All pigeon waste would be removed and the tower cleaned.

The cost of the work is £1,300, and the council’s Assets and Operations Committee agreed on Monday the work should go ahead subject to discussing the situation with the prospective tenants.

A report to the meeting by town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “In undertaking the condition survey it was discovered pigeons have regained entry into the tower.

“Upon further inspection it was found that a window has been left open and a louvre cover dislodged which has enabled pigeons to gain entry.

“It is presumed the window was left open prior to the previous tenants vacating the property as there has been no access to the tower since the banners were removed after their vacation.”

Cllr Peter Coan said: “Somebody has left the window open, the pigeons have flown into the tower and made a bit of a mess. It’s something [the work] that’s got to be done.”

In response to Cllr Quentin Abel, who said the quotation for the work seemed ‘quite a large sum’, the town clerk said: “It’s a specialist job because pigeon mess is hazardous to health, and it is partly the difficulty of access within the tower to gain access to different points to remove pigeons in there.

“We’ve had three quotes, and this is substantially the lowest; the next one up was over double it.”

Cllr Jan Nicholson said: “We have an obligation to do this from a health and safety point of view. It’s a horrible job, I’m sure, to undertake, but we shouldn’t be letting our new tenants be faced with this issue.”

Cllr Elizabeth Beswick suggested asking the prospective tenants what they wanted the town council to do, although Cllr James McCulloch said: “Let’s just get the job done, get it sorted; the quote is quite reasonable.”

Matthew Mooney was the managing director of La Belle Epoque, which left 60 King Street in June 2019 following a five-year dispute with the town council.

He said: “It is pathetic for Knutsford Town Council to attempt to divert the public’s attention away from their colossal losses of tax payers money by attempting to blame ‘the previous tenant’ for leaving a window open in June 2019.

“The council has been the custodian of the building for nearly the last one and a half years, and as anybody can see it’s become an eyesore.

“The council is wholly responsible for causing the problem due to its lack of repair and maintenance over the years, and specifically since June 2019.”