A NEW book by an archaeologist charting the development of Irvine New Town has uncovered some fascinating revelations about the blue print for how it should have been built.

Archaeologist Joss Durnan has been digging into the original plans by Irvine Development Corporation, the authority responsible for building the New Town.

And his biggest discovery was that they had originally planned to create the New Town by merging Irvine with Kilmarnock to form a town that had direct access to the M74 leading to England.

But this plan was quashed at the time by the then Secretary of State for Scotland, Kilmarnock MP Willie Ross.

Joss also uncovered IDC plans showing Irvine’s shopping centre, what Joss refers to as a “megastructure,” was originally set to go at the opposite side of the town in the Girdle Toll area.

It was switched to the Old Bridge area towards the harbour as the ground was unable to be used for a bypass road as it had previously been coal mines.

The plan was to develop the town centre to link it with the harbourside using a direct link from the shopping centre to the railway station and beyond and making it completely pedestrianised.

But this never happened and the link to the station and the harbourside was never completed, with many residents at the harbourside feeling cut off and not part of the New Town plan.

And after 1973, it all went downhill with the development plans as the work was never finished and the model was changed for the town.

The archaeologist also looked at the history of the Magnum which planners wanted to look like large exhibition centres popular in England.

Joss, 30, is three years into his research and working on completing his first draft this year.

And he is enjoying finding out all he can about Irvine.

“As someone from Irvine I have a passion for the town and to be able to talk to some of the key architects and planners who were carrying out the work for IDC is a dream,” said Joss.

“I feel it’s a shame that Irvine New Town was never completed the way they had planned it.

“I had potential to be ground breaking and had some fantastic ideas, like connecting the town to the harbour.

“It is sad that this never happened. For me, with an interest in buildings and architecture, I would love to see the shopping centre transformed into a retro-style mall and returned to its former glory.”

Joss is looking for anyone who worked for IDC or was involved in the planning or building.

Email him at joss.durnan@gmail.com.