THE long-neglected Big Idea building could finally be restored as part of an ambitious new development.
Dubbed ‘Advantage Ayrshire - the Ardeer 2030 Vision’, plans have been unveiled to regenerate Ardeer and Irvine Harbour.
And it could include a long-sought future for the former Big Idea, which closed its doors in 2003, as a ‘white space centre’ for creativity.
New housing, film studios, a cycling haven and innovation centres are just some of the ideas being put forward for the site.
Ayrshire Creative Corridor, a not-for-profit organisation, are the company behind the proposals and want to bring new investment and employment to the areas.
The proposals would see the derelict building used as a creative hub for networking, business development and other uses.
As the name suggests, Ardeer 2030 aims to have a series of developments and regeneration work completed in the area by that touted year.
The group have spent the last two years working on a model for the development and have several regeneration experts on board including regeneration entrepreneur David Scougall, former South Ayrshire Council planning chief Bruce Collier, and ex-regeneration planner Bill Borland.
International investors, educational, community and business groups have already been in discussions with the company about the project.
Ayrshire Creative Corridor say they want Ardeer to become a thriving economic, social and leisure powerhouse – much like the heyday of ICI.
The Times was invited to a media briefing to get an exclusive look at the proposals which was attended by councillors including North Ayrshire Council Leader Willie Gibson.
Speaking to the Times this week, Mr Collier said: “Everyone understands the problems the area has in terms of economics. It’s basically the second biggest brownfield site in Scotland, it’s got so much potential.
“The whole thing about this project is that things need to be inter-related, this is about housing, bringing arts groups in, people with imagination.
“North Ayrshire needs to become a destination to work and to live, that’s the vision we want for the place.”
Mr Borland believes The Big Idea could play a huge part in the site’s regeneration.
He added: “I’m interested in bringing employment and making things at Ardeer, simple as that.
“Of course Irvine Harbour does need some investment, NPL had a master plan and one of the important things was to come in with fresh ideas.
“The Big Idea is of huge interest to people so within the bigger project is to re-establish a lot of employment on the site from a community base to try and help young people and get businesses growing."
Mr Borland added: “The whole project is about how to build a new type of community."