DELAYS in building a new primary school in Irvine will not affect pupil rolls at existing schools in the town, North Ayrshire councillors have been told.

The local authority's cabinet member for education also says council bosses are hoping to conclude a contract award soon for the new Montgomerie Park Primary.

The news emerged when education spokesperson Councillor Shaun Macaulay was tackled by Labour councillor Nairn McDonald about the project at a full North Ayrshire Council meeting.

It was reported earlier this month that the council was hoping to see work start on the new school some time in 2024.

Councillor McDonald said: “The cabinet member for education [Cllr Macaulay] has announced a delay in the construction of a new primary school and early years centre in Montgomerie Park via a press interview.

“He will be aware that new homes are currently being built at Montgomerie Park, and the existing school catchment area has been dealing with capacity issues for many years, resulting in the investment in additional space at Annick Primary. 

“Can the cabinet member tell us what impact the delay on a new primary school will have on existing school rolls?”

Councillor Macaulay replied:  “In relation to Montgomerie Park Primary School, we received the final, market tested construction costs from our delivery partner, HubSW, earlier this year, and these indicated a significant budget deficit. 

“A comprehensive review of the tender submission was then swiftly undertaken to identify savings options and reduce the budget gap without compromising the learning environment within this new facility.  

“At the council meeting of March 1, the additional required budget allocation of £6.430m was approved and the budget for the new school has now been set at £23.449m.

“We are currently working towards concluding the contract award with HubSW (Hub SouthWest) and the contractor, Robertson Construction Group (RCG), in the context of a very volatile construction market.”

Councillor Macaulay added: “The education service works closely with planning to monitor housing completions and has carefully considered the present and potential numbers of children in the local area.  

“Annick Primary School and Lawthorn Primary School will be able to accommodate existing and projected rolls in line with these predictions until the new Montgomerie Park Primary School is open.”