New council houses to be built on contaminated land at the Harbourside have been given the greenlight – with the majority not needing planning permission.

North Ayrshire Council are now set to start building the 71 homes after an application to build 13 on the East half of the land behind the Harbour Arts Centre was approved.

Planning documents state the West half of the Magnum car park which will site the other 58 homes is covered by Permitted Development rights and won’t require any planning permission.

Council chiefs expect the £12.6million works to kick off early in the new year and ready for residents to move into by Spring 2021.

We previously reported how NAC is to spend £1.325m cleaning up decontaminated land to make it safe for the new homes.

A report revealed toxic levels of arsenic, copper, zinc and lead lie beneath the ground with some residents and business owners fearing the contamination poses a threat.

A ‘Save Irvine Harbour’ petition was launched which gathered almost 1,000 signatures in less than a week, while in a separate poll of 375 people on social media, 306 people voted in favour and 69 against.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place said: “These new homes in Irvine will be in an area of very high demand and will cater for different types of needs, whether that’s our older residents, families or those with support needs.

“This is fantastic news and shows how North Ayrshire Council is leading the way in providing modern, energyefficient homes.”