The opening of Irvine's new Marress House Early Years Centre has been delayed yet again - just five days before it was due to welcome youngsters through its doors.

North Ayrshire Council confirmed today that Monday's opening has now been cancelled.

They said they were "working closely" with the contractors, who are refurbishing the building and would continue to monitor the situation.

Alternative temporary provision is now being offered to the children registered for Marress at either the children’s current early years centres or at Loudon-Montgomery Early Years class.

Marress House, which used to be a tax centre, was supposed to open in January this year. 

But North Ayrshire Council announced last November that the nursery was facing "construction issues".

Today, council chiefs said that the delay in the new centre's opening would not affect children's education.

An NAC spokesperson said: "Council officers are working closely with the contractors who are refurbishing the building to monitor the situation and ensure that parents are kept informed about the revised opening date.

"Alternative temporary provision for the children involved is being offered at either the children’s current early years centres or at Loudon-Montgomery Early Years class.

"The newly-appointed head of centre for Marress House and the staff team will also work with the children to get to know them, and will offer reassurance to families involved to help make the transition to the new facility when it opens."

The children and their families have also been invited to pay a familiarisation visit to Loudon-Montgomery Early Years and spend some time with the staff and pupils before the new term starts.

The spokesperson added: "The council’s priority is to provide children with the best learning opportunities possible from a young age as they start their education.

When it opens, the new £3.7 million centre, in the grounds of the council’s headquarters at Cunninghame House, will see children learning in a bright and light-filled modern building.

The council said the building would be a landmark in the town and would also house a professional learning and development space for early years.

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, cabinet member for education and young people, said: “It is a priority for this council to ensure that our children get the best start in life and are offered every opportunity to thrive.

“We want to see our young people learning, developing and making friends as they start their education.

“The delay is regrettable, but we will work hard to ensure that families get best provision possible until Marress House is ready to open its doors.

“Our main priority is to minimise any disruption and inconvenience for the children and their families.”