THE saga of the ducks of Bedale which has been driving residents and local authorities quackers for years could well be over.

Broadacres Housing Association which is responsible for the pond at Tom Hall Court, a complex for elderly people in the town, have been given planning permission to finally demolish the duck pond which has been a feature of the town for forty years. It was drained a couple of years ago after the numbers of ducks spiralled out of control with up to 150 congregating at one time, and has become an eyesore.

Local resident Jenny Boddy appealed to the town council to ensure that any work done improved the area and was maintained.

"Nothing has happened there for a long time and it is in a total state of neglect. Can you guarantee that if this work is done it won't descend into a total mess again."

Town councillors said they could only ask Hambleton Planning who were considering the planning application to put in conditions about maintenance.

Members were told problems started because ducks were getting killed on the road as they moved between the pond at Tom Hall Court and Bedale Beck.

At one time large numbers of ducks were congregating and there were fears it was becoming dangerous and a health issue because of the mess. A local landowner rehomed some ducks but the numbers built up as people continued to feed them.

"Had they gone down the route of keeping the pond and not feeding the ducks it might have been doable to keep it, but people kept feeding them," added one councillor.

Broadacres has now been given permission to demolish and fill in the pond, remove old trees and build new footpaths with seating and new shrubs and trees. Planning officer Helen Laws said: "The proposed infilling and grassing over, including planting is likely to improve the biodiversity and the visual appearance of the area."