A man who sparked a national media storm by complaining about a village cockerel’s early morning chorus has spoken out to give his side of the story.
Simon Bee, 51, of The Lydgate, Eyam, made a noise complaint to Derbyshire Dales District Council after being awoken every morning at 4am by cockerel William for three months.
But when William’s owners, Philip and Caroline Sutcliffe, branded the subsequent noise abatement order from the council as “ridiculous” and contacted the Mercury – a national media frenzy erupted.
Now Simon claims he has been subjected to “awful abuse” online and is keen to set the record straight. “Firstly, I do not want to kill the cockerel – I want this to be resolved in a way that pleases everybody,” said Simon.
“But for three months I’ve been woken up every day at 4am and that’s with double glazing. I work full-time and cannot cope without a proper night’s sleep.”
Responding to criticism that Eyam is a rural village, where one might expect such noise, pharmacy dispenser Simon said: “This is not a farming community anymore. It’s mainly tourism now and most of the people who live here are either retired or commuters.
“And the fact that Mr Sutcliffe has a field at the bottom of his garden does not make it a farm. I would not have moved in next to a farm, but this is a residential area.”
Simon said Mr Sutcliffe had not informed him of his decision to keep a cockerel either.
He also said that Facebook users had posted comments online – including ‘Townie f***er can f*** off back to the town’ – and now claims he feels unsafe.
He said: “I lived in Edale for 20 years, which is definitely a farming community, so for people to assume I’m a townie is completely wrong.”
Simon says that now the mornings are darker– and the problem is not so pronounced – he is happy to “put the situation on ice” until spring to give Mr and Mrs Sutcliffe time to sound-proof William’s pen.
Mr Sutcliffe said he welcomed Simon’s compromise and vowed to resolve the issue.
He said: “While I would refute the claim this is not a farming community, I am happy he is prepared to compromise and I will make sure his complaint is resolved.
“He should come to me direct in the future, though, not to the council.”