This week the Darvel & District Community Council (DDCC) received news that the demolition of the old Coop Building in Darvel, scheduled to start on Mon 19th August, would be delayed owing to nesting birds which, we assume, are predominately pigeons.

At the time of writing we have no additional information about the possible length of the delay or what can be done to remedy the situation. Whilst this is disappointing we know East Ayrshire Council are fully committed to the demolition of the Coop, are working hard to make it happen and are setting up meetings to decide the best and, we hope, the speediest way forward.

Feral pigeons are a nuisance and a potential health hazard.

The acid content of their dropping has already caused significant damage to the soft stone of the building and it is likely that roof tiles have been dislodged and gutters blocked increasing the damage caused by water ingress over the years. Of course, we know the building is beyond repair and demolition is the only option. But, in retrospect, more should have been done in the past to prevent the access to the building by installing netting and other preventative measures.

Large populations of pigeons inhabiting buildings may present a potential health risk. According to Dr Jagjit Singh, Director of Environmental Building Solutions Ltd “The organic, nutrient rich accumulation of pigeon droppings, including feathers, detritus and debris under a nest provides an ideal environment for disease.  This encourages fungi and bacteria to grow and proliferate.  External parasites may also become a problem when infested pigeons or bats leave their roosts or nests. These parasites can infest buildings and cause health problems to people.”

You can add to those other potential health issues caused by pigeons including allergens, respiratory ailments and fungal diseases.

Most birds, including pigeons, are protected in law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. However, the act does allow the control of certain birds including feral pigeons by authorised people. Whatever action is required needs to be taken soon as a delay to the demolition of the Coop building doesn’t just delay the development of the proposed Main Street Market. It threatens the availability of funds to make it happen at all.

We’ll keep you posted on the state of play but for the time being it is Pigeons 1 Darvel 0.