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North Ayrshire
Sìorrachd Àir a Tuath

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North Ayrshire in Scotland.svg
Area Ranked
 - Total
 - % Water  ?
Admin HQ Irvine
ISO 3166-2 GB-NAY
ONS code S12000021
Population Ranked
 - Total (2006)
 - Density
North Ayrshire Council
MPs * Patricia Gibson
  • Philippa Whitford
MSPs * Ruth Maguire
  • Kenneth Gibson
North Ayrshire
Seats 30 councillors
12 / 30
11 / 30
1 / 30
0 / 30
6 / 30
Single transferable vote
Last election
3 May 2012

North Ayrshire (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Àir a Tuath, pronounced [ʃirˠəxk aːɾʲ ə t̪ʰuə]) is one of 32 council areas in Scotland. It has a population of roughly people. It is located in the southwest of Scotland, and borders the areas of Inverclyde to the north, Renfrewshire to the northeast and East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire to the east and south respectively. North Ayrshire Council is a hung Council. North Ayrshire also forms part of the east coast of the Firth of Clyde.

The area was created in 1996 as a successor to the district of Cunninghame. The council headquarters are located in Irvine, which is the largest town. The area also contains the towns of Ardrossan, Beith, Dalry, Kilbirnie, Kilwinning, Largs, Saltcoats, Skelmorlie, Stevenston, West Kilbride, as well as the Isle of Arran and the Cumbrae Isles. The Isle of Arran covers nearly half of the council area's territory, but is home to less than 4% of its population.

Towns in the north (Fairlie, Largs and West Kilbride) are affluent commuter towns, while Ardrossan, Saltcoats, and Stevenston in the south, are rather more industrial. The inland Garnock Valley towns (Beith, Dalry and Kilbirnie) were once a centre of steel and textile production; however, this has long since gone. Tourism is the main industry on Arran and Cumbrae; however, the number of holiday homes on the latter has begun to squeeze locals out of the housing market. Regeneration is currently taking place at Ardrossan Harbour and Irvine town centre, and there has been a rapid increase in the building of new housing in recent years.

The SNP formed a minority administration in the North Ayrshire council area in May 2012, though they were replaced by the Labour Party after a by-election in Irvine West in 2016. In the British Parliament, North Ayrshire is covered by the Central Ayrshire and North Ayrshire and Arran Parliamentary constituencies, both of which are represented by MP's belonging to the Scottish National Party (SNP). In the Scottish Parliament, the council area is divided into Cunninghame North and Cunninghame South, both represented by SNP MSPs.

Towns and villages

The main administration centre and largest settlement in North Ayrshire is Irvine, a new town on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, with a population of 39,527.

The second biggest settlement is Kilwinning which has a population of over 18,000. Other major population centres include Largs, and the Three Towns - Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.

On the Isle of Arran, the largest village is Lamlash and there are numerous smaller villages. On Great Cumbrae, the only town on the island is Millport.

Places of interest

  • Barrmill Park
  • Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park
  • Eglinton Country Park, Irvine
  • Eglinton Tournament Bridge
  • Irvine Harbour
  • Spier's Old School Grounds
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