THE first steps towards the demolition of the high flats on Irvine's riverside will begin in a few days' time.

Contractors will start to set up on site on Monday, August 1 to prepare for the first stage of a year-long programme to safely demolish the five 14-storey towers.

Once demolition is complete, work will then start on construction of more than 50 modern, affordable and energy-efficient council homes.

Councillor Scott Davidson, North Ayrshire Council's cabinet member for place, said: “This is one of the largest housing regeneration projects we have ever undertaken and will see the complete transformation of an important location in Irvine.

“Similar to other parts of the country, we are moving away from high-rise flats to give people a better quality of life.

“While they have served us well for more than 50 years, it was clear we needed to look at the future of our tower blocks and the tenants in Irvine agreed that they should come down.

“It was a massive undertaking to move 275 households into homes, but that process is now complete and we can now look forward to the next stage.

“Once complete, the new housing development will really help transform the Fullarton area, bringing energy-efficient modern homes to the site.”

Contractors are currently scheduled to begin preparations for the gradual dismantling of the five blocks, the concierge station and lock-ups.

For the first eight months or so, workers will deal with internal elements of the blocks before the buildings start to come down using high-reach demolition excavators in spring or summer of next year.

Nearby residents in Fullarton have been warned that during any structural demolition works, water suppression will be in operation to minimise any potential dust.

Residents are also advised that for the duration of the works, the site will be fenced and secured to prevent access.

The decision to breathe new life into the Fullarton high flats site was taken back in 2018 after 66 per cent of tenants voted in favour of the demolition.

A similar vote for the two Saltcoats tower blocks saw tenants vote to retain the buildings and these are undergoing extensive improvements.