AN ANGRY Ardrossan councillor is urging North Ayrshire Council to speed up work on a new school for the town.

Labour's Amanda Kerr voiced her concern after the Herald exclusively revealed that work on the project, on the old Shell refinery site, has been delayed.

Councillor Kerr said: “Ardrossan Academy should have been replaced 10 years ago but when the SNP came to power in 2012, they tried to merge the school with Auchenharvie Academy.

“Parents and the community fought back and stopped the forced merger, but the SNP’s failure meant Largs got a new school, not Ardrossan.

“Ten years on, the SNP have come back to power and inherited a funded proposal to finally replace Ardrossan Academy. Within weeks they have announced a major delay in the project.

READ MORE: Start of building work on Ardrossan school campus delayed - and it won't open until 2025 

“The bottom line is that the existing school building is not fit for purpose and when you see some of the excellent educational facilities that other schools enjoy, it is clear young people at Ardrossan Academy are being let down.

"Ardrossan deserves a new school, and it is the council’s responsibility to deliver it.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said:  “Preparatory ground works on the site of the proposed Ardrossan Education and Community Campus are now expected to get under way next year.

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

“Work on the campus has been delayed and it is now unlikely that the new school will open on its previously-expected date of August 2025.

“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.

“Ensuring momentum is sustained, work has already begun to re-examine available possibilities for the design and procurement elements of this nationally significant regeneration project.

“Options will be presented to cabinet in the autumn which will set out the alternatives and allow for a decision to be taken on the preferred way forward."

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Councillor Shaun Macaulay, deputy leader of North Ayrshire Council, 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.”

The scale of the remediation works on the site have been developed by Envirocentre – an independent land engineering company with history of restoring brownfield sites.