WORKS to refurbish a Kilbirnie nursery are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The controversial plans to close Garnock Valley Early Years Centre and relocate provision to St Bridget’s Primary School Early Years Class in Kilbirnie were decided by North Ayrshire Council in May last year.

The £639,000 refurbishment project is underway and all children from St Bridget’s will attend Garnock Valley EYC until the work is completed in December.

Last year’s decision faced backlash from parents who feared toddlers would lose out on vital activities by expanding the centre.

The Herald revealed that of the 11 formal responses received by the council at the end of the public consultation period in March, eight people disagreed with the plans; while questions raised at a public meeting showed a number of concerns over the proposals.

However council bosses rubber-stamped the plans which will see Garnock Valley Early Years continue to deliver its service until August 2020 with children expected to move in to the new-look St Bridget’s in January 2021.

Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We’re delighted to reach a position where we can see our ambitious plans progressing.

“The Scottish Government School Closure Review Panel granted consent to our proposal to discontinue the early learning and childcare provision at Garnock Valley Early Years and relocate the provision to St Bridget’s Primary School Early Years Class with conditions.

“We are happy to meet these conditions and ensure the transition is as seamless as possible for our children and staff.

“Work will be under way shortly to create a first-class early years setting in Kilbirnie and I’m sure both parents and children will be excited to see how it looks when completed later this year.”