WORK to demolish Irvine's high flats - and more than half a century of history with them - is set to get under way soon, according to North Ayrshire Council.

Garnock Tower will be the first of the five Fullarton blocks to be gradually dismantled as site clearance works reach a landmark stage.

The 'ultra-high reach demolition excavator' is expected on site next week and once assembled, the machine will commence the structural demolition works at Garnock Court.

Preparatory work got under way last summer and contractors have been busy stripping out internal fixtures from the five 14-storey towers.

The lock-ups and concierge station have already been removed.

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

The contractors have advised that during the demolition work, dust and increased levels of noise will inevitably be experienced.

The council said that in order to minimise the impact of this, water-fed dust suppression hoses will be used and noisy operations will be limited to between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Councillor Tony Gurney, cabinet member for place, said: “This is clearly a significant milestone in what is a major housing project for North Ayrshire Council.

“It will be one of the largest regeneration projects we have ever undertaken and will completely transform the area.

“The tower blocks have served us well for more than half a century but, like many other authorities, we are moving away from high-rise council properties and creating a new generation of modern, affordable, energy-efficient homes.

“The transformation of the Fullarton area will be a key project as we continue towards our commitment to build 1,625 new homes in every part of North Ayrshire by 2028.”

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 of the tower blocks.

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