Anger at plans to cull seaside rabbits

PLANS to cull rabbits which are damaging the cliffs of a picturesque seaside resort have been greeted with dismay by residents.

Mark Lord

PLANS to cull rabbits which are damaging the cliffs of a picturesque seaside resort have been greeted with dismay by residents.

At a meeting of Southwold Town Council on Tuesday night councillors said the rabbits needed to be killed in order to protect the town's cliffs, especially around Gun Hill.

Speaking at the meeting councillor Sue Allen said: “Rabbits are becoming a problem on Gun Hill. They are destroying the cliff. We need to get rid of them, I know people like them, but we cannot have them damaging the cliffs and coming into the town.”

Councillor Susan Doy added: “They are getting further into the town. The rabbits are devastating everything - up at Reydon Church they are eating everything, flowers left on people's graves, everything.”

Deputy mayor Michael Ladd said: “We are not an anti-rabbit council. We are not victimising rabbits we are simply protecting our cliffs.”

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He added that culling them was the only answer.

Concerns were raised by some councillors that in order to cull the rabbits brambles and scrub would have to be cleared from the cliffs first. The council plan to talk to Waveney District Council before the work is carried out.

However, the plans were criticised by locals and visitors to the town.

Ann Davies, a regular visitor to the resort, said: “I think it is a shame if they cull these rabbits.

“They are part of the look of Southwold and I know that my grandchildren when they come here think the rabbits are very cute.

“That said I do understand the need to control their numbers if they are becoming a problem, maybe the town council could look at a more humane way of doing it.”

Another holidaymaker John Cross added: “Rabbits are part of nature and they should be left alone. It is silly to think that some residents and the town council here are getting so worked up about it.”

However, one Southwold resident, who did not wish to give his name, said: “They are no better than vermin. They cause all sorts of problems for people living around Gun Hill and if they are affecting the cliffs then I say cull them.”

In 2001 animal lovers opposing plans to cull rabbits in Southwold handed in a 1,225 signature petition to the chief executive of Waveney District Council urging it to reconsider its plans for the creatures.

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