A SOUTHBOURNE man said he felt ill after a peculiar smell wafted over the area of Hengistbury Head yesterday.

Ian Whiteley first noticed the odd odour, which he compared to a strong smell of seaweed, on Wednesday after taking his daughter swimming at the Littledown Leisure Centre, and put it down to chemicals used in the pool.

However he said the smell grew worse yesterday and left him feeling nauseous after several hours spent in his garden in Harbour Road.

“I asked quite a few people about if they had noticed it, neighbours and dog walkers on Hengistbury Head, and most of them had to different degrees,” he said.

“I also saw a chap from the gas company with a device for detecting gas leaks on the corner of Harbour Road and Harland Road. He said he had been called out after a resident noticed a funny smell in the air.

“Someone said it reminded them of that strong smell which wafted over from France a few months ago.

“I have lived here for 15 years and never smelled anything like it.”

Mr Whiteley said the smell had died down by this morning, and he only got a whiff in his bathroom where the window was open all night.

“I’m quite sensitive to smells and occasionally we get an odd odour like disinfectant around here, perhaps due to the sewage treatment centre up the road,” he added.

“I thought this might be due to the strong winds we had yesterday, the waves were really thundering up the beach and perhaps the smell came in with them.”

Readers contacted the Echo on Twitter to report a 'fishy' smell in Christchurch, Highcliffe and Southbourne.


@bournemouthecho fishy smell now in Christchurch! What is it?!

— Laura Grinter (@ChillyAutumn) May 9, 2013



@bournemouthecho any idea what the horrible fishy smell is that's floating around southbourne is?#grosssmell

— Lauren Tompkins (@LaurenSTompkins) May 9, 2013


Back in January a gas leak at a French factory produced a strong smell across the south of England, leading to safety concerns and the early closure of Kinson Primary School. The leak was described as having an “unpleasant smell” but was “not toxic”.

Local councillor Robert Lawton said he had been at home in Southbourne yesterday afternoon and hadn’t noticed the smell.

“Sometimes you can smell the sewage farm from the Spur Road but it would be unusual for the smell to travel all the way to Southbourne,” he said.

“If it smelled like seaweed I imagine it was probably blown in from out at sea by the very strong winds yesterday.”