THE SNP and Labour have once again locked horns in North Ayrshire, but both parties are hopeful of the same thing - a new Ardrossan Academy before 2025.

This follows the announcement of £1billion of investment in the construction and refurbishment of schools across the country by Education Secretary John Swinney.

And his local counterparts are calling on the ruling Labour Group on North Ayrshire Council to make good of their commitment to make a new build academy for the town a priority.

Cllr Tony Gurney spoke to the Herald after the announcement and said: “Ardrossan’s parents and children have been badly served by consecutive Labour administrations.

“It took a motion from me at the last full council meeting, supported by my SNP colleagues, to ensure that prioritising a new Ardrossan school became Council policy.

“With this exciting news from John Swinney that funds are now available for new schools I am calling on North Ayrshire Council to support me in my plan to apply for these funds and to build a new Ardrossan school. In addition I am asking for the time-scale for the new school, scandalously delayed for at least another five years by this administration, be brought back to the original schedule as planned by the last SNP Council.”

North Ayrshire Council Leader and Labour Councillor for Kilwinning, Joe Cullinane, hit back at Cllr Gurney and revealed that the council have met with the Scottish Government on ‘a number’ of occasions of the past few months.

These meetings included an initial meeting between Council Leader Joe Cullinane and Education Cabinet Member John Bell with the Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

Now the Labour administration are confident of 50/50 funding for the project split evenly between the council and the government.

Saltcoats ward Labour Councillor Jim Montgomerie said: “Thanks to the leadership shown by the Labour administration over recent months Ardrossan is at the front of the queue to secure government funding.

“We know that the government are excited about the ambitious proposal that we are developing for the Campus and we are confident that the funding will be secured to bring this forward at the earliest opportunity.

“In total, the Labour administration’s capital budget includes a massive £88.5million investment in our school estate in North Ayrshire. Delivering a first-class campus in Ardrossan is a priority.”

Earlier this month, the Herald revealed that the council were looking at the old Shell Site on Ardrossan’s North Shore as a replacement location for the school and Cllr Gurney added: “Part of the continuing mismanagement has been the removal of potential sites for a new school. Local people will know exactly which areas are free and large enough to accommodate a new campus. I have not yet come to a decision on the best location but I do have faith in our highly trained Council officers. They would conduct a full and comprehensive survey of all potential sites. I will always place the safety of our children first.”