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Etymology
A 'Bour Tree' is the Ayrshire name for the Common Elder tree, Sambucus nigra, often found in the older and more biodiverse local woodlands.
Modern housing estate of Bourtreehill

Contents

The Bourtreehill housing scheme forms part of the Irvine New Town in North Ayrshire, Scotland.

Geography

Bourtreehill is north of the village of Dreghorn. Annick Water, a tributary of the River Irvine runs through Bourtreehill. The river has a good stock of brown trout.

History

Bourtreehill (and Broomlands) housing estates were built in the late 1970s to meet the demands of a burgeoning population. They developed around the older Bourtreehill House estate. Rather than being controlled by local or regional government, they were managed by Irvine Development Corporation, a body set up for the purpose of regenerating Irvine.

Originally, Bourtreehill housing scheme was intended to be substantially larger than it is today, extending beyond the River Annick, further towards Perceton. However, with a considerable number of old mine workings, some of which have not been charted, this was abandoned.

North Bourtreehill has been a troubled community since its inception with several different construction companies being involved, some of which went bankrupt partway through the project. This has resulted in a wide variety of housing styles of varying quality. Since the disbanding of IDC, the houses which had not been sold to private ownership fell under either local council administration (Cunninghame District Council, now North Ayrshire council) or, in some cases, were owned by a housing association.

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Missing toddler

On 23 April 1976, the case of Sandy Davidson hit the headlines in Scotland.[1] Sandy (born 28 May 1972), a three-year-old toddler who was living with his family in Bourtreehill, disappeared while walking his dog. Even after a massive police search Sandy was never found.

Unsolved murder

In an incident that shocked the community of Bourtreehill a young mother was brutally murdered. In broad daylight on 10 November 1994 Shona Stevens had her life taken away from her violently while walking on the footpath in Bourtreehill Park / Middleton Park on the way back to her nearby house.[2][3] This murder remains unsolved.

Social problems

The community of Bourtreehill has a range of social problems such as drug dealing, underage drinking and petty acts of vandalism. This has been blamed on the lack of facilities for young people in the area, although several projects have sought to address this. These are however problems common in many areas of nearly every town up and down Britain. With new regeneration schemes and building works planned for the future, the social problems of old should lessen if not cease.

There is a very high unemployment rate in Irvine which is partly due to well known companies moving out (Compaq, Volvo and British Telecom) of the area which has resulted in big job losses to the local population and has damaged the local economy.

Amenities

Bourtreehill is home to a library which was originally sited in the Towerlands Gate area. This original library was quite small, and also both users and library staff had concerns about the possibility of their cars being vandalised. In 1996, the library moved to a site directly next to the British Telecom exchange building in Cheviot Way. This custom built building cost 280,000 pounds sterling to build, and has since been vandalised on numerous occasions.

There are no public houses in Bourtreehill since both the But 'n' Ben and The Village Inn closed. There is, however, a Sports club located in the village centre.

In Bourtreehill there are two clusters of shops. The first at Towerlands Gate has a small grocery and a fish and chip shop. With the demolition of the flats there, these businesses are also being closed. What will be erected in their place is still uncertain. Towerlands Gate is one of the trouble spots of Bourtreehill. The other is the area called the Village Centre. This has a number of stores ranging from a Grocery, a newsagent and sub post office, bookmaker and chemists.

There is also a community centre in the old Towerlands Farm. The farm had lain derelict for a number of years until it was refurbished. A group was set up called BABCA (Bourtreehill and Broomlands Community Association), and the community centre is used for various activities. BABCA at one point used to issue an irregular local newsletter making residents of the Bourtreehill and Broomlands area aware of coming events in the community centre and local issues which might affect them. This practice seems to have stopped some years ago.

The local Health Centre is located in Cheviot Way.[4] There has been a Health Centre in Cheviot Way for many years. Originally it was a small prefabricated building which was situated just a short distance down the road across from the Telecom building where there is now a sheltered housing complex. Now it is in a newer, larger building with other facilities, including a dentist.

The Irvine New Town Trail is a cycle and pedestrian route which passes through Bourtreehill, giving relatively 'car free' access to Girdle Toll, Eglinton Country Park, Broomlands, Springside, Kilmarnock and beyond.

Transport

The area is served by Stagecoach Western buses Ltd, the number 28, 26 & 21 bus serves this area of the town.

Education

Bourtreehill itself is served by three Primary schools. These are Towerlands Primary School, near Heatherstane Way in the eastern edge of Bourtreehill. Fencedyke Primary school is notable for being powered by Solar Panels. This then revolutionary idea became more important in the 1984-85 Miners Strike, when pupils from other schools were ferried in there as other Primary Schools were then heated by coal. The third school is St John Ogilvie Primary, the last of the three schools built. It is primarily a Roman Catholic Primary school[5] and is situated near both the Chapel and the Church of Scotland Relief Parish Church.

Young people of senior school age from the area attend Greenwood Academy in Dreghorn, St Michaels Academy in Kilwinning or the Irvine Royal Academy.

Footnotes

External links

Coordinates: 55°37′0.3″N 4°37′45.3″W / 55.61675°N 4.62925°W / 55.61675; -4.62925


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