Hopes for £170m Ardrossan project despite procurement challenges

Ardrossan (Shutterstock)

REGENERATION plans for Ardrossan are ‘continuing to move forward’ despite ‘challenging world-wide economic conditions’, North Ayrshire Council has said.

Works on the £170 million project had initially been scheduled to commence in spring 2022, with a view to completion in 2023 to align with the build of the Ardrossan Campus which is due for completion in January 2025.

Approval for the plans was given in September 2020, with the project including the build of a new education campus, marine, residential, and commercial developments at the former Shell Oil site.

However, a cabinet report explains the issues behind the delays in securing a contractor to carry out work and how these can be overcome with new procurement process needed to be carried out.

The report added that a delay to the campus opening is now ‘inevitable’ but a new plan is being put in place that will help the council overcome the construction challenges that are affecting large-scale projects across the country.

It continues by stating that Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) – who provide 50% of the funding for the new campus – are involved in discussions and remain supportive and understanding of the challenges currently facing North Ayrshire Council.

The council said that, despite ‘challenges’ with the procurement process to secure a contractor to carry out essential remediation works at the site, it ‘remains confident a range of developments will take place over the coming years’.

Councillor Tony Gurney, cabinet member for economy and climate change, said, “Everyone is aware of the unique challenges right now. The highly challenging environment including contractors being very selective in projects that they bid for, skills shortages, volatility in the price of materials, uncertainty in supply chains, global market uncertainties and construction inflation have undoubtedly played a part in this particular tender process.

“We have held really positive discussions with SFT and we will explore various options and ascertain the best route forward. There are always bumps on the road in projects of this scale but we are very confident these can be overcome. We look forward to sharing more information over the coming weeks.”