Residents across Ardeer are calling for the peninsula to be removed from the council’s grand harbour plans fearing the Big Idea bridge reopening will affect visitor numbers.

Representatives from Stevenston’s community council wrote to North Ayrshire Council asking that they remove the Ardeer side from their Ayrshire Growth Deal plans to develop the Irvine Harbourside area.

Plans include bringing the Big Idea building back into use as well as its footbridge from Irvine Harbour - with a potential second phase involving more extensive development at Ardeer.

Treasurer Don Campbell said: “A footbridge is essentially a physical and economic bypass of Stevenston. Local people want visitors to the Ardeer Peninsula, and the associated spend, to come through Stevenston rather than Irvine.”

“These plans represent the kind of Irvine-centric thinking that has severely disadvantaged Stevenston over the years. The council’s bias towards Irvine is so entrenched and so implicit in their thinking that I’m not sure they even realise how inappropriate it is to propose making Irvine the main access point to the southern Ardeer Peninsula.”

Chair Ian Winton said: “This is not regeneration. Taking a critically important asset and damaging it is the opposite of regeneration –it’ll damage the area and its prospects. The community are keen for the southern peninsula, with its forests, sand dunes and heathery heathlands, to be protected from any development and used as the basis for green tourism in Stevenston.”

North Ayrshire Council were contacted for a response.