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Folkestone resident warns Londoners moving to seaside town of ‘4am wake up calls’ due to seagulls

Londoners looking to move to one of Kent’s most popular seaside towns have been warned of the “constant squawking” and “sleepless nights” caused by seagulls.

Lynn Barrett-Smith, who lives in the harbour area of Folkestone, posted a video on Facebook highlighting the daily struggles of dealing with the noisy birds.

The clip shows three raucous seagulls relentlessly shrieking outside one of the bedroom windows – and says 4am wake-up calls are a “regular occurrence”.

Mrs Barrett-Smith, however, is able to “tune the noise out after living here all my life” but says people visiting her don’t find it as easy to ignore.

“I had friends stay over one weekend… they said never again!” she explained.

“They came to visit from Wales and said they had no idea how we put up with the noise on a daily basis. They could not sleep.

“I have lived in this house for 25 years so I don’t even notice it anymore.”

The rejuvenated Old High Street in Folkestone
The rejuvenated Old High Street in Folkestone

There has been plenty of hype around the seaside town in recent months, which was named one of the best places to live in the UK by The Sunday Times at the weekend.

Interest in Folkestone has been growing following the launch of the multi-million-pound Shoreline Crescent development on the seafront.

Sir Roger De Hann, who heads the company behind the luxury apartments, insists he is not trying to "gentrify" the town – but admits the new seafront flats are likely being eyed up by wealthy Londoners.

It has even been claimed that Folkestone will usurp Brighton as the UK’s new house-hunting hotspot, due to its speedy rail links and more affordable property prices.

However, Mrs Barrett-Smith, a life-long resident of the town warns people moving there will have to put up with the noise as “the birds have just as much of a right to be here as us.”

The Shoreline Crescent development on Folkestone seafront – where prices will start from £430,000
The Shoreline Crescent development on Folkestone seafront – where prices will start from £430,000

“It is much worse in the summer as we have our windows open due to the heat,” she said.

“They start at around 4am and don’t stop squawking until around 10am. My husband works night shifts so he very often gets frustrated by the seagulls.

“I am no stranger to hearing a bit of bad language from the bedroom and seeing the window slam shut.

“I find it quite amusing, but as he starts to nod off at 4am they start the noisy protest!”

Much to her husband’s despair, one morning Mrs Barrett-Smith made the “error” of feeding toast crumbs to the birds out of her bedroom window.

Three noisy seagulls outside Lynn Barrett-Smith's bedroom window. Picture: Lynn Barrett-Smith
Three noisy seagulls outside Lynn Barrett-Smith's bedroom window. Picture: Lynn Barrett-Smith

“For the next three summers we had seagulls pecking loudly on our windows hoping for more food! it was horrible,” she said.

Mrs Barrett-Smith posted a video of the boisterous birds in the Folkestone Residents Group on Facebook, sparking a lot of reaction – including from DfLs (Down from Londoners) who have made the town their home.

One DfL, Avyona Cripps, said: “We're often listening to them at 2am! It's never-ending.

“We chose to live here though, so fully accept the squawking and pattering on the roof at all times. We were used to constant sirens in London and now we're used to the gulls.

“The drunks staggering up the road on Fridays and Saturdays, shouting either at each other, or into their phones, effing and blinding… now that riles me as they show no respect for anyone! Give me the gulls every time.”

Meanwhile Hanna Darrington joked: “This clip ought to be included in estate agents’ particulars.”

And Linda Jones added: “They have been around a lot longer than us... so squalk as much as you want seagulls.”

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