A special ceremony has broken ground on a new £15 million state-of-the-art facility in Irvine. 

Work has begun on the new manufacturing facility at the i3 area in the town - a major project being financed through the Ayrshire Growth Deal. 

Councillor Marie Burns, leader of North Ayrshire Council (NAC) and chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, carried out the ceremonial duties to mark the start of construction.

The project is the first phase of the i3 Advanced Manufacturing Flexible Space Programme, supported by £11m from the Scottish Government and £4m from NAC.

Muir Construction Ltd are carrying out the initial £4m development which will see them construct an 18,000 square feet industrial unit and related yard space.

The project will look to provide flexible modern business space for local companies looking to expand and grow or for inward investment opportunities.

Councillor Burns said: “The i3 area is a key strategic site which already has a wide and varied business base and home to around 40 companies including GSK, Vogel and Booth Welsh.

"We are creating a business and innovative hub and we want to provide even more opportunities to attract large-scale inward investment opportunities to support advanced manufacturing uses.

“We very much look forward to work progressing and look forward to seeing the final results when work is completed later next year.”

When finished the new unit will be energy efficient and built with sustainability in mind, and can be divided into four units and be expanded.

 There are plans for a second facility in close proximity to the first phase.

Muir Construction’s business development director, David Fairweather, said “We are delighted to be involved at ground level on the i3 Advanced Manufacturing Flexible Space Programme.

"Our continued presence in the North Ayrshire area will help us sustain our support for the local community and we are really looking forward to continuing our programme of careers advice for schools in the area and charity support work.”

Neil Gray, Scotland's cabinet secretary for wellbeing, economy, fair work and energy, said: "By allowing local businesses to grow, attract more inward investment and create new jobs, the space will make a vital contribution to Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation."