AN historic theatre wants to put spikes on the building to deter roosting pigeons.

Westcliff’s Grade II-listed Palace Theatre, built in 1912, has arches and ledges on its facade which have proved popular with pigeons.

In an application to Southend Council, the theatre said the birds are fouling pavements below the building which is located directly on the street.

In addition, the theatre says the birds are in danger of blocking chimneys and gutters and damaging the fabric of the building.

The theatre said: “The damage that bird fouling causes to historic buildings can be extensive. Apart from the obvious unsightliness, the main problem is acids released from their excrement.

“These can cause irreversible damage to building surfaces resulting in the scarring of building fabric.

“Whilst it is accepted that the birds spikes do not provide the best aesthetic solution, given the historic context that the Palace Theatre building provides, it is felt that the choice material and size options available will be utilised to minimise the impact.”

The theatre is proposing to use anti-roosting plastic spikes, which were chosen “due to their humane nature of deterring pigeons whilst being a successful system in preventing roosting, perching and damage to buildings”.

The plastic spikes will be glued to all decorative ledges on the London Road building. The adhesive does not damage the building and can be removed if required.

The application adds: “Whilst it is preferred not to have any protection on the building, the increase in roosting pigeons cannot be ignored, therefore, the pragmatic approach of installing the spikes with a view to removing them once the birds have moved on.

“This would be achieved through routing monitoring and removing areas of treatment in stages. The working solution will also not cause any long term damage to the building.”

Others systems explored by the theatre included an anti-perch wire system, Bird Gel which sticks to birds’ feet and feathers and shock strips which give a bird a minor electric shock but these were dismissed as unworkable.