VOLUNTEERS who care for Dunfermline's iconic peacocks have warned that their aviary is not fit for purpose.

They say that money given to the birds, which could be spent on vet bills or food, will end up going towards maintenance on the building, with regular flooding and below-freezing temperatures having caused problems for years.

Suzi Ross, who heads up the team of volunteers at the sanctuary, told the Press that the centre was without heating, running hot water, or reliable electricity and that while she and her colleagues have invested their own money, Fife Council have left them in the dark.

She claims that the authority have admitted that if those running the service were not volunteers, health and safety would prevent them from working in the building.

"The tiny babies' nursery is the only place with heating, we don't have heating throughout the whole building, just in there," she explained.

"We are looking to get heating put in for all of it, we have no electricity, we have two sockets, and those were just put in this year.

"In the kitchen, we have two sockets, all the electrics have been condemned here, as they are throughout the whole of the park, if we get the electrics sorted out then hopefully we can get some form of heating.

"The outside roost doesn't have heating either, in the winter time I've seen that at minus two out there, that's far too cold for the birds."

She has plans to install a heat lamp in the area to keep the peacocks warm through the winter months, though says their biggest problem has been the condemned roof.

According to Suzi, each time it rains the building is flooded, with damp evident on the walls, and just a few weeks ago, shop items worth more than £100 were lost to water damage.

She claimed that two years ago, a tradesman had offered to fix the problem for free, but that the council had rejected the offer, saying they would have to go through a lengthy process to organise it.

The team has been waiting since then for a solution.

"People ask, 'Why are you paying money you got for the birds on a building that doesn't even belong to you?'" she added.

"It belongs to the Carnegie Trust who let it out to Fife Council, the only thing they are supposed to do is keep it dry and heated, but they (the council) don't do anything, they don't do a thing for us."

This month, there will be the first of a series of meetings between all those who use Pittencrieff Park, though it could be too little, too late, with Suzi saying that while the authority use the birds as an attraction, they have not helped to improve their space or care.

"We have the birds here, live animals, and we get no help whatsoever, everything you see here are things the volunteers have put together using our own money," she said.

"My husband and I started it, all the money we had got thrown into it but they just don't care, that's really frustrating. They encourage people to visit the peacocks while not being willing to help out."

The council confirmed that they were planning improvements to the aviary and attached steading building.

Team manager Scott Fenton said: "Dunfermline’s peacocks bring a great deal of joy and pleasure to Fifers and visitors to the city and it’s in everyone’s interest that they are looked after and treasured as they should be.

"The volunteers in the park do a great job and, working together with the Carnegie Trust, we are planning improvements to both the aviary and the steading building.

"A steering group is also being established with representatives from the volunteers, the trust and the council to lead on future improvements for the peacocks and their environment."