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Row over geese sends village into a flap

An inquisitive goose Photo: Sandy Maynard

A row's broken out in a picturesque village in the middle of Suffolk over whether there should be geese on the green.

What began as a welfare issue, has developed into a vitriolic local dispute with the police being called to a parish council meeting.

If you're looking for a lovely village to live in, Beyton would surely be close to top of the list. It has a distinctive charm. But if the village geese could talk , they might tell a different story.

Beyton has always had a close association with the goose. They've been here for decades.

And yet the issue of the geese on the green has ruffled a few feathers. In fact things have become so acrimonious that the police had to be called to a recent parish council meeting when things were threatening to get out of hand.

An unseemly squabble that broke out and led to the police arriving. You can watch Malcolm Robertson's report including pictures from that council meeting here.

On the one side you have parish council chairman Roger Wyartt and those who supported more geese being introduced, and on the other Sandy Maynard who lives on the green and who believes more of them is asking for trouble.

"Wandering around on the roads they got hit, they got killed, they got attacked by dogs and after four years nine out of the ten geese were dead and people were talking about getting more geese to put in the same situation and I thought probably that wasn't a good idea."

– Sandy Maynard
Geese at Beyton in Suffolk Credit: ITV Anglia
Beyton Parish Council prepare to meet Credit: Sandy Maynard

Sandy Maynard thinks the parish council isn't really representaifve of Beyton and her filming recent meetings has upset councillors. Three resigned last year after it became legal for cameras to be allowed into council meetings. At the most recent one, attempts were made to block her view.

We accept that, regrettably, we don't like it but we have to accept it and we do but the problem with it of of course is that the filming itself is not the problem. It's the harassment and abuse caused by cutting it, editing it and putting it on youtube and all that sort of thing which just makes the work of a parish councillor much harder."

– Roger Wyartt, Parish Council Chairman
One of the geese that has divided Beyton Credit: ITV Anglia

Sandy Maynard's lived in Beyton for six years and insists she's not against geese - she enjoys seeing them come into her house - and claims her village poll revealed 88 per cent against more being introduced, while a parish council survey showed 78 per cent of the village in favour.

But what began as a discussion over geese has developed into a bitter village dispute. It remains to be seen whether bridges can be built or whether the geese will continue to divide this Suffolk village.