POLICE are treating a fire which broke out in a derelict listed building in Ardrossan as "wilful".

Officers confirmed that they had launched enquiries after the blaze took hold in the former stables at the old Seafield school, between Witches Linn and Eglinton Road.

Local resident Gary Davidson captured footage of the B-listed building well alight in the early hours of Saturday, December 30.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had to send four appliances to the blaze, was already "well-developed" when they arrived.

The fire was later extinguished with no reported casualties as a result of the incident.

A SFRS spokesperson said: "We were alerted at 4.09am on Saturday, December 30 to reports of a fire within a derelict building in Ardrossan.

"Operations Control mobilised four fire appliances to the town's Witches Linn, where firefighters were met by a well-developed fire.

"Crews extinguished the fire and worked to make the area safe before leaving the scene.

"There were no casualties."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: A large blaze engulfed the east wing of the school building in 2017A large blaze engulfed the east wing of the school building in 2017 (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

A Police Scotland spokesperson added: “Around 4.20am on Saturday, December 30, 2023, officers received a report of a fire at a derelict building on Eglinton Road, Ardrossan.

“The fire is being treated as wilful and enquiries are ongoing.”

Saturday's blaze was the second to hit part of the former school in recent years.

In 2017 a large blaze in the main building of the former school - which closed nearly a decade ago - caused the roof to collapse in the east wing.

The condition of the site has been causing concern to local residents for several years, with NAC receiving complaints about it since 2016.

Seafield House and stables remain on Historic Environment Scotland’s 'buildings at risk' register, with their condition being described as “poor”.

In 2022 the owners of the site - last known to be D. McLaughlin and Sons - were ordered to "clean up" the area around the two buildings, and to secure the property after a spate of fly-tipping and vandalism.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Seafield School prior to its closure in 2014Seafield School prior to its closure in 2014 (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

The closure of the school, which was run by the Quarriers charity, was announced in January 2014 - though the building had been on the market for more than a year before it shut.

Prior to its closure, Seafield provided care and learning for children and young people with complex educational needs and often from troubled backgrounds.

When the closure was announced, almost exactly 10 years ago, Quarriers blamed a fall in demand for residential education and care, which it said meant the school was no longer viable.

The school closed for the last time in July of that year, with the loss of 60 jobs, along with two residential homes in North Ayrshire run by the charity - Merton House in Largs and Williamfield in Irvine.

Less than a year later it was announced that a buyer had been found for the property, and planning permission was granted in July 2016 for a partial change of use, from a school to a health and fitness centre.

The Ardrossan Community Sports Hub took on the gym building within the school grounds in May 2021 and transformed it into a community-owned fitness facility.