COUNCILLORS have given the green light for Irvine’s new £5 million sports ‘hub’ last week.

The dedicated sports centre, indoor and outdoor sports pitches plus viewing area, three tennis courts and a 1km cycle track is planned for Quarry Road.

The proposals also include parking for more than 100 vehicles.

The new building will include an entrance lobby, team changing area, and storage.

In a report to the council’s planning committee last week, economy and communities director Karen Yeomans states: “The proposed development would deliver significant regeneration benefits for Irvine through the provision of all-weather sports and leisure facilities. It is considered that the enhanced facilities would promote far greater use of the park on an all year round basis for health and fitness purposes, which would benefit both the local community and the wider North Ayrshire area.

“The proposal would also deliver regeneration benefits to the town in terms of visitor expenditure on local services.”

The proposal has attracted a number of objections.

One resident said: “No consideration has been given to parking for East Road and Quarry Road, causing problems for traffic, existing local businesses, public transport and residents in the area." 

Planners responded that the facility will have additional parking and would be close to public transport routes and residential areas.

Another raised concerns about flooding. Officials replied that the development would introduce improved drainage. They also pointed out that the indoor and outdoor pitches would be playable all year round.

Some of the objections appear to argue against developments that are not part of the application. These include a complaint that rugby pitches at Quarry Road would result in a loss of football pitches. They were told that there are no rugby pitches in the application.

Another said that the development would destroy the old greyhound track which was to be turned into a nature reserve.

Planners pointed out that the track was not on the development site.

The length of the cycle track was also questioned, with one objector arguing that it was too small for the likes of Fullarton Wheelers. Officials responded that they had consulted Cycle Scotland and had made some changes to the original plan.

Further concerns were raised about the proximity to Irvine Winton Bowling Club, which have ‘problems with bottles and cans being thrown over the hedge’.

They argued that the problem would get worse as a result of the development.