Surprise was expressed by villagers that work was beginning on the Fairlie Coastal path recently at an area which is already fully accessible.

There are various inaccessible areas of the seafront for prams, wheelchairs and bikes, but the council had decided to start from the southward side first which is already open for all users.

Permission was granted three years ago for the route but there has been various delays including an application for a marine licence which also set things back.

However, a North Ayrshire Council spokesman allayed concerns by potential users of the new route that the works may not be completed along the full length of the seafront to Bay Street.

He said: "The works will be completed by the end of this financial year - March 2019."

Louise Kirk, active travel and transport manager, has been heavily involved in the project, which has undergone three consultations with the community.

She said: "The next phase of the construction is from the South Car Park to Craiglyn. The existing monoblock path will be upgraded and widened. Works have commenced and it is anticipated that the work will take approximately eight weeks to complete.

"Works will be undertaken between 8am and 5pm on weekdays and on Saturdays up to 1pm as required.

"Plant and machinery may cause some nuisance, but we will aim to minimise this wherever possible. We aim for deliveries to the construction site to take place outside of peak traffic hours.

"The main access to the construction site will be from the south car park.

"Thank you for your patience during these works and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused."

Access All Areas correspondent Zoe MacLean, Village Inn co-owner Brian Flannigan, and Nancy McQueen of the Fairlie Community Garden recently gave strong support to the new path project in a recent 'News' article, but the issue has had a long history with various concerns raised by a section of the community into the need for a path.

A suggestion to build the path around the back of the Ferry Row street of properties was dropped following the consultation stage, and will remain along the seafront. Posters had been put up during the consultation phases asking 'if this is what the community really wanted'?

A consultation was recently held in Millport to the extension of the cycle path on the Island of Cumbrae including the area from the Field Studies Centre to the ferry slip.