DUCKS and geese that reside beside Urchfont duck pond officially moved into their new luxury home - dubbed Duckingham Palace - on Wednesday.

'Duckingham Palace' was created for the birds by Redcliffe Homes, which is building 19 new homes in the village set around the pond.

Parish councillors, friends of the duck pond, and representatives of Redcliffe Homes were there yesterday afternoon to see the birds officially take up residence in their new purpose-built home.

Simon Holt, Urchfont Parish Council planning chairman, said: “ We are really pleased with the new house as the ducks and pond are a much loved feature of our village. It was a very generous of Redcliffe homes to pay for it."

The luxury architect-designed home was created at a cost of £10,000 and it has three separate entrances and accommodation for the ducks and the goose and an integral grain store.

The brick built duck house on the edge of the pond replaces three timber huts, one of which has been sold with the proceeds going to support the ducks.

The remainder have been demolished to make more storage and parking space within the new Redcliffe Homes development site, Badelyne Yard.

The name is an old collective noun for a group of ducks and was chosen to reflect the importance of the duck pond to Urchfont.

Redcliffe Homes’ site manager Alan Woods said: "The pond is a major feature of Urchfont and makes the new homes we are building more attractive. It was important to make sure that the ducks and the geese got their homes first and that the architecture fitted in with all the other new homes.

"This is certainly a most unusual project. As well as the duck house we have a thatched house to build at the entrance to the development, a barn conversion and a new home cleverly designed as a mirror image of the barn conversion."

Nicky Mitchell, Urchfont Parish Council chairman, said: "Urchfont Pond and ducks are an important part of life in the village providing enjoyment for children and adults. They are looked after by Friends of the Ducks, led by Elaine Bancroft and a group of volunteers, and are put away each night to protect them from foxes and other predators.

"We are extremely grateful to Redcliffe Homes and now this impressive new duckhouse is being handed over to Urchfont Parish Council. Hopefully they will love this new home and enjoy occupying what must be the finest duckhouse in the land."