CUNNINGHAME Housing Association have moved to address fears surrounding a fox family at its latest development in Stevenston.

A member of the public from the area around Garven Road contacted us with concerns surrounding the wildlife at the site.

They said that they had contacted Ashleigh Scotland Limited, which has been contracted to complete the 20 home development, to make them aware of a family of up to six foxes who had set up home at the site of the former Ardeer Primary School.

They became concerned, with work due to commence in the coming days, when they asked the company for an update - and were told they had been "dealt with".

Though responding to the concerns, a representative of Cunninghame Housing Association (CHA) looked to clarify the situation.

They said: “CHA understands the concerns of local residents in relation to the fox family that was identified on our development site at Garven Road in Stevenston, and are happy to provide some information on the process followed to relocate them.

"The association initially sought the advice of an ecologist which led to the appointment of a local pest control company to humanely remove the foxes from site. 

"The initial survey identified two site dens to the left hand side of the site when viewed from Garven Road. 

"As the foxes were only discovered close to site clearance works commencing, there were limited choices in relation to a solution."

They then explained how a decision was taking as to how the foxes could safely be removed from the site.

The representative continued: "Shooting was obviously out of the question and live capture would have been virtually impossible due to children in the local area accessing the site in the evening and the association would not be comfortable with youths around any animals trapped in a cage.

"Hessilhead (a wildlife rescue centre in Beith) was also considered however upon assessment they would have encountered the same issues.

"Our solution was natural and humane; to allow the foxes to move dens with the cubs by themselves.  This was achieved with great results in the space of a week."

The association say that the dens were identified upon the first site visit on September 12 and that the burrows were excavated by hand.

They added: "CCTV was also used as burrows turn corners and we wanted to ensure they were clear prior to excavation.  Several open holes were dug and operatives left site.  Dens were between 6-8 metres long.  

"A further three visits were carried out to check the digs and identify any activity.  Further CCTV footage was carried out on each visit to ensure no foxes remained on site. 

"Dens were also reduced to around a metre in length and advice was that the foxes should relocate as the current dens were compromised. 

"Wooden struts were placed across access points and tracking dust used on the third visit (on  September 17) to monitor any activity from Sunday to Monday.  A full check of the entire site was also carried out to ensure there were no new digs located. 

"A final visit on September 18 confirmed there had been no activity around the access points to the dens and the foxes had successfully relocated with their cubs. 

"The pest control company remained on site for the majority of that day, as this was our site commencement date, to ensure nothing had been overlooked.

"The assocation believes this is the best outcome for the foxes that were on the site.  No cages or traps were used and the animals relocated without human intervention.”