Residents lose battle to halt Irvine social work offices moving in

CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a sheltered housing unit into a social work office have been approved by North Ayrshire Council despite concerns about parking from nearby residents.

The local authority dismissed worries from their own officials and neighbours about the lack of parking around the proposed site at Kiln Court.

Roads officials recommended refusal when the application to move the Ayrshire Criminal Justice Partnership into Kiln Court was lodged on Hogmanay.

They pointed to the current parking difficulties in that area and Irvine town centre.

But on Tuesday, planning officers said that, as the number of staff had been reduced from 61 to 27, they were satisfied there would be no problem.

Residents say they are baffled as there is only room for 10 cars behind Kiln Court.

The social workers will be working for the Ayrshire Criminal Justice Partnership.

They will be responsible for creating court social work reports, bail supervision, community service orders and supervision of offenders on parole.

In December, residents of one of Irvine’s oldest streets, Glasgow Vennel along with neighbours in Cotton Row and East Road lodged objections to the plans.

One disappointed resident said: “At the moment we are plagued with council vans parking in the resident only spaces and I think this problem will get worse if this goes ahead.

“Social workers have to be mobile and I bet they will all have cars.

“Glasgow Vennel should be the pride of Irvine, it is one of the town’s oldest streets and instead it is about to become a parking nightmare.

“This area is not built to support the number of cars that will come with a social work department.”

Tenants of Kiln Walk feared they would lose their laundry facility as the original report to the council said there would be no provision for them when the workers moved in.

But it was agreed at Tuesday’s meeting that the residents would benefit from two washing machines under the request of Councillor Ian Clarkson.

He said: “After talks with social services, the tenants will probably get two machines instead of one as I am sure the one used by the former residential unit will be used by them.”