GAZETTE COMMENT: Feather flies but rates row demands discretion

The gentle folk of the Belford Pigeon Racing Club had a brief moment in the spotlight in 2007 when a dispute over whether pigeon racing was a sport or not became a national phenomenom.

The fanciers had never paid rates on their small shed before, but, under changes to the law, they would not have been able to apply for an exemption as they were not participating in a sport.

Letters to the Queen and a motion in the House of Commons followed before common sense prevailed and pigeon racing was declared a sport.

Now it appears that someone has felt the storm is sufficiently long enough ago to have another try.

Surely this is one of those situations where a little discretion needs to be used.

Whatever the rules may or may not say, this ‘clubhouse’, to give it a rather grand description’, is used by just six people to take part in the sport (if they say it’s a sport, then it is) over many years.

The money isn’t going to make a difference to the county council’s budget deficit, it probably costs more to process – so let’s just settle this sensibly.