NORTH Coast councillors have welcomed the proposal for a revolutionary sub-sea cable facility at Hunterston Coal Yards – but say concerns about noise and pollution must be addressed.

The planned factories on the site will total 700,000sqft, and will look to make thousands of kilometres of HVDC subsea cables every year.

These will be used to transport renewable electricity around the world.

The facility is expected to bring 900 full-time jobs to the area and support another 600 in the British steel industry.

The firm behind the plans, XLCC, is planning to spend nearly £500 million constructing the factories, buying machinery and purchasing a huge cable laying vessel.

Conservative Todd Ferguson, councillor for West Kilbride and Dalry, says the plan can provide a lifeline to an area which has been hit hard by employment issues in recent years.

He said: “I welcome the recent news about the proposed investment at Hunterston.

“It is exactly the type that has been needed to offset the loss of large-scale employers across North Ayrshire over the course of the last decade.

“The proposal for over a thousand skilled and unskilled jobs will no doubt be music to the ears of many constituents who are excited about the prospects of finding work locally.

“This investment should be welcomed with open arms and I am fully supportive of the proposal that has been presented to me.”

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch also welcomed the plans, but says questions still remain about the impact on local residents in Fairlie, West Kilbride and further afield.

He said: “This would appear to be the most appropriate use put forward so far for Hunterston Parc.

“However, I have asked various questions regarding the proposed site and whether the operation will be a good neighbour to Fairlie, Cumbrae, Largs and surrounding areas.

“I have been assured that noise levels and emissions from the cable manufacturing plant will be very low, and that the whole operation will be as clean and green as can be.”

Fellow North Coast councillor Alan Hill has echoed the same concerns and says the proposed 180-metre tower - vital to the cable-making process - could be an issue.

The SNP representative explained: “Whilst I am delighted at the prospect of new jobs being brought to the immediate area, I also have concerns about the environmental impact of this project.

“At the presentation to Largs Community Council, the proposers were unable to provide any realistic information about noise, emissions and smells created by what they have said would be a 24/7 operation.

“I am also very concerned about the building of what will be the highest man-made structure in Scotland so close to people's homes.”

Labour councillor Alex Gallagher believes the proposed facility could lessen the impact of Hunterston B’s decommissioning, which starts next year.

He said: “It’s a potentially tremendous development. We are losing a lot of high quality jobs from Hunterston and this looks like a potential replacement for a number of those.

“If the promises of 900 jobs comes to fruition it will be a great boom for area. We will try to make sure these jobs stay local.

“I was very impressed with the presentation, and I will certainly be 100 per cent behind the planning application when it comes forward.”

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall, who is head of the planning committee at North Ayrshire Council, says all ideas for the disused Hunterston Coal Yards are welcome.

He said: “With the loss of the Hunterston nuclear station there is a real need to provide quality jobs in the area.

“As planning chair, I welcome come any applications that will develop the Hunterston site and provide employment for local people.

“Applicants need to be aware however of the need to maintain the high quality environment surrounding Hunterston and ensure that there is no nuisance created for local residents.”

A community consultation by XLCC on the proposed facility is continuing and locals can email their comments to