THE people of Cumbrae are to be given a chance to have their say on ambitious plans to improve flood protection at Millport.

Save the Millport Pier campaigners this week welcomed the news - but insist that preserving the future of the pier needs to be central to any new development.

North Ayrshire Council is to hold three engagement sessions in mid-February to discuss the updated designs for Millport coastal flood protection scheme.

The proposals – which were considered by cabinet in December - aim to reduce the risk of flooding to vulnerable properties on the island.

An estimated £27.5m would be spent to create an offshore breakwater connecting small islands in Millport Bay, in addition to onshore walls to protect the Millport shoreline.

The preferred option would result in a sheltered inner bay which could, as part of a future separate project, accommodate a mini marina, opening up tourism opportunities for the island.

The sessions which are open to the public will be held at the Garrison on the following dates:

Tuesday, 12 February, 10.30am - 30-minute presentation on Flood Protection Scheme 11.30am-2.30pm - Community design workshop 3.30pm-4.30pm - Community design workshop 5pm - 30-minute presentation on Flood Protection Scheme 6pm-7pm - Community design workshop Wednesday, 13 February, from 10am to 6pm 10.30am - 30-minute presentation on Flood Protection Scheme 11.30am-12.30pm - Community design workshop 3.30pm-4.30pm - Community design workshop 5pm - 30-minute presentation on Flood Protection Scheme

The community design workshop sessions will focus on the onshore works that are required. The location, appearance, landscaping and access needs for the flood walls and other structures will all be discussed.

A further session open to students will be held on Thursday 14 February.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said the proposals for the much-needed flood protection scheme have been shaped by local residents.

He added: “A huge amount of work has gone into designing a flood protection scheme which meets the needs of residents.

"“We believe the proposed scheme offers the best of both worlds – giving protection to the properties at risk from flooding while also opening up the potential to boost marine tourism on the island.

“I hope that the community on Cumbrae will continue to work alongside us to ensure this vital project can move forward.”

Save Millport Pier campaigner Mari Wallace, pictured handing over the petition of 9200 to council leader Joe Cullinane, said: "It's wonderful that offshore break waters will give the potential for a marina, but the fight goes on to ensure that Millport Pier remains at the heart of any plan."

Comments on the flood protection scheme can be made via a number of means, including forms provided at the events, online via the flooding section of the council's website or by post to Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE. A collection box for feedback questionnaires will placed at Millport Library.