THE decision not to create a new Irvine medical research centre which could bring more than 850 jobs has been criticised by both local Labour and SNP politicians.

North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane slammed the Scottish and UK governments and Scottish Enterprise after the decision to site a new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre ( MMIC), in Renfrewshire.

And SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has also asked why Irvine’s ‘shovel ready’ site was snubbed.

The planned centre was one of the key elements of the £350m Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Cllr Cullinane warned of the ‘huge economic consequences’ of the move, arguing that the socio-economic need of the area was dismissed.

It is major blow for Irvine, which has made life sciences the main focus for inward investment and made millions of pounds worth of improvements at the i3 business park.

The level of investment would have been significant for Irvine.

The Scottish Government will provide £15million, via Scottish Enterprise, and the UK Government will fund £13m to create the new MMIC centre.

North Ayrshire Council pointed out that Irvine had also been overlooked by the Scottish Government when they chose Dundee and Glasgow as bases for a new Social Security Agency, each expected to create 750 jobs.

Ruth Maguire said: “The case for having the site here was strong and credible. i3 had benefited from significant infrastructure investment and the site is “shovel ready”.

“Created as a Special Life Sciences Area it would have allowed the MMIC to be up and running quickly.

“Given this, coupled with the level of Scottish and UK government funding being invested and both governments’ commitment to inclusive growth, I will be seeking answers from all involved parties as to why the site was overlooked.

“Irvine and Ayrshire is a great place to live and do business, moving forward it is essential that all those who care about growing our economy and creating jobs here work together constructively to make sure we are taking every opportunity that comes our way to do just that."

Cllr Cullinane said: “We are all extremely frustrated with this decision. We have been working for over three years to secure this investment and, with our Urban Regeneration Company, had invested £10m in site infrastructure to make it ready for new investment such as MMIC and other manufac tur ing and life science companies that would want to locate next to and access MMIC facilities.

“Our proposal is very strong. Furthermore, our site was created as a special Life Sciences Area, recognised by the Scottish and UK Governments for the purpose of creating a vibrant life sciences hub in Irvine. With the support of large multinational businesses, already located there, this would have allowed the MMIC to get up and running immediately.

“The majority of project finance is coming from the public sector so we have to ask why the UK and Scottish Governments have not been bold, strong and taken the decision themselves to base the MMIC in not only the best location but also the area that stands to benefitfrom it most.

Cllr Cullinane added: “There are huge benefits if this investment came to North Ayrshire. These investments would have created more than 850 much needed jobs to the area.

“North Ayrshire has one job for every two people of working age and a third of children living in poverty. Something clearly must change and when the public sector has a chance to facilitate change then surely they have to grasp it.

“The Scottish Government had the chance to make a difference for North Ayrshire last year when they decided to locate the new Social Security Agency in Glasgow and Dundee.

“They took the easy way out with that. “The Scottish Government regularly tells us how it wants to make a fairer and more equal Scotland where no-one will be left behind.

“I have to ask – are they serious about inclusive economic growth? Or are these just nice words? It was a key project moving forward in our Ayrshire Growth Deal proposals.

“We will have to rethink these now.”