Irvine’s set to receive millions in investment after a multi-government backed growth deal for Ayrshire was finally signed.

It is hoped the deal will create approximately 7,000 jobs across a wide range of sectors in Ayrshire. The investment will be delivered over a 15-year period.

Around £21 million of investment will go into the i3 area of Irvine – boosting the current Life Science businesses on site.

A figure of £14 million will be used tourism investment at Irvine Harbourside and Ardeer peninsula – with plans to include bringing the Big Idea back into use and reopen its footbridge.

And £11 million will be spent on a subsea fibre optic cable to have its landing point in Irvine.

For Irvine’s Great Harbour plans, a formal agreement was signed last year between North Ayrshire Council and NPL Group, who are also the Harbour Authority aimed at unleashing the potential of the stunning coastal setting.

It is hoped that the bold and imaginative plan will bring in tens of thousands extra visitors each year to North Ayrshire, making it a destination of choice for leisure activities, businesses and families to live to work.

As well as transforming the Irvine Harbourside area, the plan will look at creating a sustainable development of the Ardeer peninsula alongside preserving its environment. The proposals include:

· Creating a ‘Maritime Mile’, from Irvine train station to the beach.

This will re-invigorate the area by creating a unique coastal experience for visitors and opening up access to the waterfront setting and revitalised harbour

· Working with the Maritime Museum to create a new visitor attraction, showcasing the vessels in a new waterfront setting

· A new future for the former Big Idea building, with work underway to consider commercial opportunities. Plans will also be drawn up to completely re-imagine and re-open the Inventors Bridge which links Irvine Harbourside to the Ardeer Peninsula

· An all-weather barrier free play facility which will be the only one of its kind in the west of Scotland.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities in society and at the heart of the Ayrshire Growth Deal will be equity and inclusivity.

“The Growth Deal represents a £251 million Community Wealth Building opportunity, with every project delivered with a focus on sharing the benefits and rewards from the investment across our communities. “Considerable work has been progressed in recent months to get us to this stage.

“Now we have reached it, we are ready to start delivering on the potential of the Growth Deal for the people of Ayrshire.” The deal is to deliver projects focussing on innovation, productivity and tackling inequality to help develop key sites in Ayrshire."

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Mr Matheson said: “In a period of economic uncertainty and challenge, delivery of the Ayrshire Growth Deal is more important than ever with the projects re-invigorating the regional economy.

“I appreciate all the hard work that the three councils across Ayrshire and their partners have put in to get us to this point.