HARVIES swimming pool will close and a brand new facility built within the new Ardrossan Academy, after councillors voted in favour of the proposals.

The £62m education and community campus looks likely to be built at North Shore, Ardrossan after a meeting of Full Council gave the project the green light last week.

Councillors agreed to an amendment which could see the current swimming pool building turned over to the community for their ownership.

The agreed proposal will be subject to statutory consultation over the next few months with a final decision to be made in the new year.

Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “The response to the swimming pool survey was effectively split 50:50 between Ardrossan and Harvies and we have therefore analysed the comments made by the community over the issue of swimming in the Three Towns and the biggest single theme from the survey was that having quality, affordable and sustainable public swimming provision was absolutely essential. The proposal we are moving forward with gives us the very best chance of achieving this.

“There is however a clear demand for good leisure facilities in Stevenston. In the past such council decisions would have resulted in us going straight to the decommissioning of the existing facilities once the new pool was open but my administration are absolutely determined not to do that. Instead we want to work with the community for the continued use of the swimming pool building at Auchenharvie Leisure Centre.

“That’s why we have committed to recruit a dedicated community development officer for Stevenston that will help individuals and groups explore options, including funding opportunities, for community ownership of the building. In addition, we are ring-fencing a significant amount of money to support any community ownership project which will give them a real chance of bringing ambitions to life. A community owned facility could be something really exciting for the community of Stevenston.

“We have listened to local people’s views through the survey. The proposals for Ardrossan and Harvies help mark a hugely exciting time for the Three Towns and we are delighted to be moving forward with the ambitious plans.”

The report says the council will explore the option for community use and/or ownership of the swimming pool building at Auchenharvie.

The report also provided details of investigation works on the North Shore site – the full report can be viewed online – and conclude that an appropriate remediation strategy can be put in place to make the site suitable for its intended use.

The council had allocated £31.5 million from its capital plan to replace Ardrossan Academy this was match-funded by the Scottish Government in the first round of funding for Community Education facilities

Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education, added: “Ardrossan is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. That’s so disappointing but we are seeing it as an opportunity to spark real change and to make a difference. A like-for-like replacement for Ardrossan Academy would be great but we have to be bold if we want to make a difference and improve the chances for our young people. By creating opportunities for them we can realise the potential of the area.

“We are delighted to have reached this stage and now look ahead to statutory consultation and potentially moving forward with these exciting proposals.”