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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 19/11/2020

The transformational Ayrshire Growth Deal has reached a major milestone – paving the way for the creation of thousands of jobs and the investment of millions of pounds into the region.

At a virtual signing event today (Thursday 19 November), the three Council Leaders, Councillors Douglas Reid, Joe Cullinane and Peter Henderson, joined Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, and Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP, to sign the deal and ratify the implementation and financial arrangements which signal major investment into the region.

The signing of the £251 million deal represents a massive boost to the area, and is the culmination of four years’ work by the councils, partner organisations and both governments.

The deal will galvanise efforts to develop key strategic sites and sectors across Ayrshire. It will help leverage private sector investment of more than £300 million, with the potential of creating up to 7,000 new jobs.

A range of projects will be delivered across Ayrshire with a clear focus on innovation, productivity and inequality. The deal will create new business spaces, improve infrastructure and connectivity, and boost research and development ventures, while growing local talent and providing new opportunities and routes into employment for people throughout Ayrshire.

Tourism integral to Ayrshire Growth Deal plans

Tourism is a key sector in Ayrshire. Tourism-based projects to receive funding will build on and strengthen the existing tourism offer, to make the region a highly desirable place to visit and live, work and invest in. The programme will be supported by Scottish Government, with £18.5 million to be invested by Scottish Government, and a further £5 million from North Ayrshire Council.

The Scottish Government will provide investment of up to £9 million for the development of The Great Harbour, at Irvine Harbourside and Ardeer, alongside an additional £5 million from North Ayrshire Council, to create a unique coastal destination comprising a number of key assets to attract new visitors to the area and create jobs. The initial investment will deliver the ‘Maritime Mile’, which will be the catalyst and driver for the Great Harbour transformation.

The 'Maritime Mile' will build on the unique qualities of place, creating a national waterfront destination focussed on a series of dynamic event spaces linked by a floating boardwalk. This will offer marine access and will be animated by boats, people, events and activities, to achieve a waterfront destination that will transform the tourism and the visitor potential of Ayrshire and the Clyde Coast.

The 'Maritime Mile' is a critical first strategic investment to unlock a series of secondary development opportunities, which can capitalise on the coastal and community assets in the Great Harbour, to create a strong, resilient place based and a premium regional coastal destination that delivers community wealth building opportunities.

The Scottish Government will invest up to £9.5 million in marine tourism, delivering critical infrastructure to enable investment to secure the development of the marine tourism industry in North Ayrshire. This investment will focus on securing infrastructure that supports key components such as sailing and boating, marine leisure, and recreation. Marine tourism investment at Ardrossan, Arran and Cumbrae will showcase the potential of the Clyde coast region as an inclusive and accessible place for active leisure, through the expansion of Ardrossan marina to be one of the largest marinas in Scotland, and the development of transit marinas at Arran and Cumbrae.

Virtual signing of Ayrshire Growth Deal (19 November)

In a period of economic uncertainty and challenge, delivery of the Ayrshire Growth Deal is more important than ever with the projects re-invigorating the regional economy. I appreciate all the hard work that the three councils across Ayrshire and their partners have put in to get us to this point. The signing of this deal, with investment of £103 million from the Scottish Government, will help to drive future growth and prosperity in the region and in Scotland as a whole.

Our investment in skills, digital infrastructure, community wealth building, tourism and regeneration will generate a host of opportunities for communities, businesses and individuals across the region. We will see jobs created and jobs protected across Ayrshire. Projects including the HALO and the Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor will cement Ayrshire as a leading area for innovation in Scotland. We will continue to work with the three Ayrshire Councils and partners to help deliver the projects that will unlock investment and drive inclusive growth across the region.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP

This is a landmark moment for Ayrshire. The deal we have agreed today will have a profound positive impact on the region for generations to come.

From advanced manufacturing, to clean energy, to aerospace and marine science - the UK Government’s £103 million investment will cultivate innovative and sustainable industries that bring quality jobs and benefit Ayrshire’s communities.

Growth Deals are important to our long term economic recovery from COVID-19 and the UK Government’s £1.5 billion in Growth Deal investment across Scotland is securing our future prosperity.

Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP