CONSTRUCTION work on a £150 million new school campus and major housing development in Ardrossan has been delayed, the Herald can exclusively reveal.

A tender process for enabling works at the North Shore site opened in November 2021, before North Ayrshire Council’s (NAC) application for planning permission for the latest stage of the project was approved in March this year.

However, a notice published by NAC last month and shared on the Public Contracts Scotland website said the contract award procedure was incomplete, meaning the near-£23 million tender has still not been awarded – five months after works were planned to start.

Building of the Ardrossan Education and Community Campus – incorporating a new Ardrossan Academy and Winton Primary School – was scheduled to get under way next year but NAC has now confirmed that the development timeline has been pushed back.

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A council statement said it is now “unlikely that the new school will open on its previously-expected date of August 2025”.

The statement added: “Factors such as rising construction costs and a complex procurement process have affected the timescale for this major investment project.

“Remediation work at the former Shell Oil site was due to start this summer, to enable construction on the new campus to begin in 2023.

“To ensure that best value is achieved, any future procurement processes will fully consider the challenges posed by worldwide inflation and associated rising costs. This will allow a successful contractor to begin remediation work next year.”

Sports pitches, a coastal path and up to 150 houses are also included in the development plans for the site, which has lain vacant for around 35 years. The enabling works - preparing the ground for development - are expected to last for approximately 41 weeks.

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The campus is the first of a range of projects planned for the site, with a new marina development, hotel and the International Marine Science Centre also earmarked for the derelict area.

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, NAC deputy leader, said: “This site is one of huge significance and represents a massive opportunity not just for the school community but local residents, businesses, visitors and the wider North Ayrshire community.

“But the simple fact is that, along with many local authorities across the country, we are in a very different economic situation than the one we started with.

“We will keep everyone fully informed as we move forward. There may be a delay but we are still confident of delivering on a range of exciting and ambitious projects for Ardrossan and the wider area.”

An update is expected to be provided to the council's cabinet in the autumn.