North Ayrshire Council has secured £4million in Scottish Government funding to build 26 homes on the site of the former St Mary's Primary School.

Initially, the site was to be developed for social housing initially for people seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine and, thereafter, for allocation through the North Ayrshire Housing Register.

But now locals on the housing register will be given priority and some Ukranian families will be homed at the development.

Following extensive assessment of the Council’s proposal, the Scottish Government has confirmed its willingness to fund the project through its Affordable Housing Supply Programme, recognising the shovel-ready status of the project and its contribution to increasing local and national social housing supply.

The St Mary’s Primary School site, on Linn Avenue, was initially earmarked for an innovative housing programme, called Home Ownership Made Easy or HOME, which would have allowed tenants to own a partial stake in their home.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic followed by the worldwide rise in construction costs and inflation, means that the HOME scheme is no longer financially viable, requiring an alternative future to be found for the site.

Conditional approval was granted for the planning application in August 2021. All other statutory consents are in place.

Discussions have been taking place with Scottish Government officials, leading to a business case being presented seeking sufficient funding to enable the site to be developed for social housing – initially for people seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine and, thereafter, for allocation through the North Ayrshire Housing Register.

Following extensive negotiations, Scottish Government has confirmed its willingness to fund the project through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

The £4m grant offered is significantly above their normal benchmark level and will enable the project to be delivered and the homes maintained using the rents receivable from the 26 new homes.

The Scottish Government has advised that there are no conditions on the funding which require the properties to be allocated to Ukrainian Displaced People, although they have advised that it would be helpful to the Ukraine programme if some support was provided,

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch said; "I welcome this, as I have been disappointed that the site has remained unused for a considerable time.

"It is great news, that it will now be developed to provide new Local Authority Housing.

"I am also delighted that there is now a proposal to sell the Brisbane Primary site for development.

"I have been equally disappointed that this site has also remained unused for a considerable time.

"However, I would like to see the allocation of the St Mary's homes going to the many constituents that are in desperate need of suitable housing.

"The good news is that the planning permission is already in place so it should be a relatively straight forward task to do.

"Due to the reduction in size, there is some nice communal land which could perhaps be used for leisure purposes such as a kids playpark."

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Former Brisbane Primary siteFormer Brisbane Primary site (Image: Ian Murdoch)

The other former Brisbane Primary School in the outreaches of the town is still lying vacant.

Cllr Murdoch added: "I will only support the sale of the Brisbane Primary site, if the best price possible is achieved for this wonderful site."

If given the go-ahead, it will be the latest development to be added to the Council’s ambitious house-building programme which is delivering hundreds of new homes right across North Ayrshire.

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet Member for Green Environment and Economy at North Ayrshire Council, said: “We have one of the most ambitious housebuilding programmes in Scotland and the development at Largs will be yet another exciting addition to that programme.

“It will be a natural extension to our recently-completed 122-home development at Flatt Road which neighbours the site and will provide a range of general needs homes and amenity properties.