Multi-million pound plans for Red Cross House have now been approved with construction expected to start in February.

North Ayrshire Council can now begin redevelopment of the £6.6 million Learning Disability Day Centre at the site after plans were approved last week.

The Times had an exclusive sneak peek at designs for the new centre, which will soon provide 20 homes and a day centre for people with varying disabilities.

Contractors will be mobilised on Monday, January 15 next year, with construction work on the site expected to begin on Monday, February 12, 2018.

Work on improving the centre is to last for 52 weeks, with it expected to be complete by Friday, February 8, 2019.

Cabinet member for Health and Social Care Cllr Robert Foster said: “It was deeply disappointing when the Red Cross pulled out of Red Cross House and it was something that we as a party campaigned against.

"However, from its ashes has come this exciting development which will transform services for vulnerable people across North Ayrshire.

“This will be one of the first capital projects delivered in partnership between North Ayrshire Council and the health board since health and social care integration took place and it shows the potential there is to radically shift health services into the community.

“I can’t wait to see the development come to fruition now so that we can start delivering improved services to its users.”

The ‘Tarryholme Drive Project’ – in partnership with NHS Ayrshire and Arran - will see the site extended to create 20 homes for people with learning disabilities who require a 24-hour support service.

It will also provide six housing units for people with learning disabilities requiring resettlement in the community and another nine for those who need mental health rehabilitation support.

A day service will also help around 90 service users who have a range of needs.

This will see provision transferred from Fergushill to the Tarryholme Drive site.

The redevelopment of the Red Cross House site has been undertaken as more and more evidence is gathered showing that bespoke accommodation for people - both adults and children - with disabilities has a profound and positive impact.

The development of accommodation available at Tarryholme Drive will help both the council and NHS meet the special requirements of tenants and, in the longer term, make savings with services being delivered in-house.

The council completed the purchase of the Tarryholme Drive site in October 2016 and have consulted extensively with partners and service users to find the best and most appropriate use for the base.

A spokesman for North Ayrshire Council said: “The details of our exciting £6.6million plans for the former Red Cross House are being finalised ahead of construction work getting under way early next year.

“As our proposals take shape, we are engaging with staff and service users about the facilities the new development will offer and how these can best be shaped to meet future demands.”