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Irvine is a large town in North Ayrshire, in the west of Scotland.

History[]

The town was once a haunt of Robert Burns, who now has two streets in the town named after him: Burns Street and Burns Crescent. Despite being classed as a New Town, Irvine has had a long history stretching back many centuries and was classed as a Royal Burgh. It is the birthplace of the former First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell.

Unlike most New Towns which were either completely new build or based around small villages, Irvine was already a sizeable town. A quango, the Irvine Development Corporation (IDC), was set up in the 1960s to oversee the development of the town. This involved massive and sometimes controversial development of the old parts of the town. Irvine was officially designated as a New Town in 1966, the fifth and last to be developed in Scotland and the only new town to be located on the coast. The other Scottish new towns were East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Livingston.

IDC was widely criticised for some of their actions including the demolition of large swathes of the Fullarton part of the town, the Bridge and most of Bridgegate in 1972 - 1973. One positive development by the IDC was the Irvine Beach Park from 1975 and the Magnum Leisure Centre opened in 1976. This area, behind the harbour, had been largely industrial wasteland for many years and was regarded as an eyesore. The area was developed with vast amounts of greenery making it a pleasant place to walk. IDC also built many council estates in the area surrounding Irvine, among these being Bourtreehill, Broomlands and newer build houses on the existing village of Girdle Toll.

The villages of Springside, Dreghorn and Girdle Toll and the town of Kilwinning all fell within the designated area for the New Town. This idea seems to have faded throughout the years, probably partially due to the disbanding of IDC and less people in the newer generations knowing about the idea of the 'New Town', and partly as people in those communities maybe felt their own sense of identities were being compromised.

There is a high rise estate at Fullarton Street RDA.

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Further interest[]

New Towns[]

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