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Sandwich Library will not be re-opening today as planned due to nesting seagulls delaying roof repairs

Sandwich Library is to remain closed as repairs to the roof have been delayed due to nesting seagulls.

Kent County Council announced on Monday that the library, which is undergoing £178,000 worth of refurbishments, will not be re-opening on Saturday (today), as planned.

The seagulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act which means the chicks cannot be removed until they leave the nest of their own accord.

Sandwich Library Guild members Margaret Simpson,Cilla Phillips and Robert Tomlins
Sandwich Library Guild members Margaret Simpson,Cilla Phillips and Robert Tomlins

Sandwich Library Guild chairman Margaret Simpson said: “We feel this delay could have been avoided with some sensible scheduling for the roof work.

“After all, the gulls nest in the same places, and protect their chicks in the same way, year on year.

“My feeling is that the library will be closed for some time yet, as I believe that adult gulls are very protective of their young even when they’ve left the nest.”

KCC is spending the money on replacing the roof, installing new lighting and updating the fire alarm system.

The library has been closed since May and a mobile library has been parked in the Cattle Market car park.

Mrs Simpson said: “People are missing the library.

“The mobile has been okay in the short term but it obviously can only provide a limited service, and readers, clubs and IT users have nowhere that is as accessible to use as the permanent facility.

“We are also concerned about what the overall cost of the delay will be to local taxpayers.”

It is not known when it will re-open but an inspection was planned to take place on Thursday.

A previous inspection by an ecological consultant found that three fledglings were on the upper roof area, and KCC says it is likely that one has now left the nest.

A spokesman said: “The two remaining fledglings had feathers and formed wings, which suggested that they should be leaving soon.

“Once the gulls have left the roof areas it will be necessary to remove bird excrement, sanitise the roof areas and fly a hawk weekly over the library to unsettle and prevent the gulls from returning. If the inspection finds that the fledglings have left, work on the roof will begin next Monday.

“Once the works are completed shelving will be reinstated and the books restocked the following week, ready for reopening to the public.”

During the closure, residents have been able to use libraries at Deal, Ash, Aylesham and Ramsgate.

The mobile library is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.

Registration of births and deaths are available at Ramsgate, Deal and Dover. For more information email sandwichlibrary@kent.gov.uk or call 03000 413131.

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