A LONG awaited flood prevention scheme for Millport looks set to take a step closer to becoming a reality this week.

But island campaigners say a crucial plank is missing - their bid to save the island's timber pier, which is at risk from storms this winter.

An offshore breakwater which would lead the way towards step onshore facilities and a community marina is being proposed by North Ayrshire Council as the way ahead.

A council cabinet meeting was taking place as we went to press to look into the matter but the recommended solution does not involve any flood protection works at the existing timber pier.

The Scottish Government have confirmed that the grant only covers cost directly associated with flood protection works but unhappy campaigners claim that workable solutions to save the pier ranging from £100k to £450k have been ignored.

The existing timber pier is currently closed due to its poor condition and Save Millport Pier representatives had requested that temporary repairs be carried out to allow its use pending any flood protection scheme works.

Russell McCutcheon, head of the council's commercial services, said: "A separate economic appraisal of a potential temporary five year refurbishment of Millport pier was carried out by officers within the council’s economic regeneration team.

"The outcome of the economic appraisal has determined that the estimated economic benefits from the required repair costs investment would not be economically viable nor deliver value for money."

Officials believe offshore breakwaters will support marine tourism by providing a sheltered inner harbour environment at Millport, potentially paving the way for future development of a community marina.

Mr McCutcheon said: "This would allow Millport to capitalise on its potential as a stopping off point for visiting yachts, supporting the local tourism economy.

"The council’s tourism and coastal economy officers have been working to develop a proposal in support of step ashore facilities at Millport.

"The breakwater would be a key step towards this aspiration."

"The option would connect up small islands in Millport Bay, with onshore flood walls as being the most economically viable.

"This option also allows for the consideration of step ashore facilities allied to the Ayrshire Growth Deal Marine Tourism proposals.

"This would support increased visitor numbers to Millport through an increase in visiting yachts."

A public consultation event on the next step is due to take place in early 2019.

Cumbrae Community Council chairman Phil Lonsdale told the News he was 'disappointed' that options to save the pier had been sidelined.

Community councillor Graham Wallace added: "I'll be following this through with North Ayrshire Council - they have totally ignored the fact that we put three other fully priced and workable options in front of them for maintaining and bringing the pier back into use, from respected pier engineers and contractors, ranging from £100k to £450k depending on standard to be achieved - but all of which would have ensured it could open for business and be certified and insured to include use by the Waverley."