Urgent repair works approved before lockdown have now kicked off to repair Seagate Castle after £250,000 was approved for the historic landmark.

The cash will be spent on a number of urgent repairs at the Irvine castle with archaeological investigative work going on during this time.

Councillors previously approved the funding from Irvine’s Common Good Fund to fix up Seagate Castle at their budget meeting back in March.

Work was previously due to kick off around May or June after investigatory works were previously carried out last year to ensure the long-term future of the structure.

Head of Finance, Mark Boyd, said: “Seagate Castle, owned by Irvine Common Good Fund, reports have concluded that works are required to be carried out to preserve the fabric of the castle.

“The costs of the required work have been included in a further report and will be presented, they have been estimated at £250,000.

“Council is asked to approve these funds from Irvine Common Good, should costs exceed estimates a further report will be presented to council.”

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “Seagate Castle is one of our most historic buildings on one of our oldest streets, dating back to Irvine’s earliest days, and we take our jobs as custodians of this important heritage building very seriously.

“Following a routine inspection of the Castle last year, we have put in place a programme of works to ensure the long-term future of the historic sculpture.

“The first phase of protection, preparation and archaeological investigation works got underway last week.

“This forms the first, informative step towards more extensive work in the near future and will take around three weeks to complete.

“The works will be contained to the Castle grounds, however, there will be some restrictions on vehicle access and use of Seagate, at times.”

Irvine’s Seagate castle was said to have been visited by Mary Queen of Scots – and is now visited every year on Marymass Saturday as the parade makes its way back from the Moor. It recently featured in Ayrshire Film Company’s virtual Marymass footage after COVID-19 called off the festival.