'We built home for pigeons - now council has told us to tear it down'

Two men who turned 'unloved' waste land into peaceful oasis slapped with council removal notice.

Pigeon fanciers ordered by Glasgow City Council to tear down loft they built on waste ground Contributed

Two pigeon fanciers have been left devastated after a council ordered them to tear down a loft they built on waste ground.

Ronnie McCann and his father-in-law John Gaughan, from Glasgow, built the structure two years ago on “overgrown, unloved” land in the Gorbals.

They worked to clear the area, power-washed graffitied walls and planted flowers in a bid to create a peaceful oasis.

Meanwhile, passers-by can relax on a railway sleeper that’s been refashioned into a bench.

Ronnie McCann STV News

But late last week, Glasgow City Council slapped them with a notice to tear down the pigeon loft or have it destroyed.

It said there had been complaints and warned that “a sheriff officer” will remove the structure on Friday if it’s still in place.

“It’s my happy place,” Ronnie, 41, told STV News. “It wasn’t until I built it that locals noticed the difference and now people come and sit there, and kids cut through to walk to and from school.

“Before, everyone was scared to use the space and now they love it.”

The loft is home to 20 show pigeons that Ronnie and John consider to be their pets, and the pair are gutted at the thought of having to tear it down.

Before and after


‘Very sad’

Ronnie said: “They’re intelligent birds and a couple of them are nesting at the moment.

“The council say they’re going to take the hut down on Friday and I don’t know what’s going to happen to my birds. I’m very sad about it.

“My family have always kept pigeons and they kept me out of trouble when I was younger.

“When everyone else was running about mad, I was with the pigeons.

Glasgow Labour MSP Paul Sweeney has written to the council, accusing it of acting in a “heavy-handed fashion”.

He said: “I was dismayed to hear of the planned enforcement action being proposed by Glasgow City Council.

“If we are serious about encouraging people to take pride in their local areas, we can’t have our authorities acting in the heavy-handed fashion we see here.

“All I ask for is some common sense to be applied by the council, and for the matter to be resolved amicably.”

‘Attracted complaints’

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We are always appreciative of members of the public who get involved in maintaining their local environment.

“However, the pigeon loft has been installed on council property without permission and has attracted complaints from the local community.

“The court has agreed we are within our rights to seek the removal of the loft and we ask that Mr McCann vacates the site by the end of this week.”

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