HUNTERSTON has missed out on up to 1,000 new jobs after a Spanish firm announced a shortlist of two places for a new factory. 

Last month, the Herald reported that Hunterston was one of two Scottish sites being looked at by Talgo, with four others throughout the UK also mooted. 

Now the company will house their new factory, which will make parts for high-speed trains, in either Longannet or Chesterfield. 

Carlos de Palacio - President of Talgo, said: “The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the UK is a significant part of Talgo’s future strategy.

“Talgo’s aim is to establish true manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere. This means that we will draw from materials and expertise across the UK.

“This keeps more money in the UK economy, and creates more skilled long-term jobs.

Kenneth Gibson, the MSP for Cunninghame North expressed his surprise at the news, he said: “I am not only extremely disappointed but also surprised that Hunterston was not shortlisted for this project.

“With its 5.7 kilometres of track onsite, its grid connections and deep water port, Hunterston provided a unique location for this manufacturing facility and I know that North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Enterprise and Peel Ports and others all worked hard to bring this important development to Ayrshire.

“Sadly, Talgo has not yet given reasons why it has shortlisted Longannet and Chesterfield, although they have agreed to provide that information 'soon.'

"One hopes that this new manufacturing facility will now be developed at Longannet. Regarding Hunterston, I have pressed for it to be included as a key hub in the Ayrshire Growth Deal and I am optimistic that North Ayrshire Council will make a positive announcement in that regard over the next few days.

"I remain determined to see high quality, skilled jobs brought to Hunterston."

North Ayrshire Council Leader Joe Cullinane added: “We are deeply, deeply disappointed that Talgo have chosen not keep Hunterston in the running for what would have been a major, game-changing investment In North Ayrshire.

“We believe that Hunterston, with its location and infrastructure, would have been an outstanding choice for the company – it is a site ripe for development.

“While it’s a bitter blow for us to find out Talgo has opted to go elsewhere, we refuse to give up in the fight to bring new jobs and investment to an area which suffers from some of the highest levels of deprivation and poverty in Scotland.

“We know that Hunterston offers great potential and, as we make progress in attracting hundreds of millions of pounds to the area through the Ayrshire Growth Deal, it will remain a key focus for us in the months and years ahead.

“We are now looking towards government at a national level to make sure that they provide the support we so desperately need – we stand ready with our public and private partners to finalise that investment and make sure North Ayrshire gets the support it deserves.”

West Scotland List MSP Jamie Greene reacted to the news and said: "I am deeply disappointed by this decision, I believe that North Ayrshire would have been, and still is, an excellent location to manufacture next generation high-speed trains. We are a fantastic location, with great connectivity to our major cities, and have a talented and skilled workforce.

“This opportunity would have created jobs, grown the local economy and attracted further investment into North Ayrshire.

“It is important that we all redouble our efforts to promote North Ayrshire as a potential hub for future investors. I am willing to work with any North Ayrshire politician, whatever their political colours, to ensure that we can make this a reality.

“I believe North Ayrshire has a bright future ahead of it and can no doubt look forward to new opportunities in the years ahead.”