OUTRAGED residents are at boiling point after they uncovered 'scandalous' council plans to install a 40ft chimney right in front of their homes.

Residents living in streets surrounding the new Flatt Road 120-homes development say they were 'disgusted' to discover plans for an industrial-sized biomass boiler and chimney.

They say this was never explained in the site plans or mentioned at consultations and claim that they only found out 'by accident'.

The system would be used to heat the new homes but the council has now been urged to do a u-turn.

Resident Gordon McArthur has rallied neighbours and around 20 of them attended a community council meeting as they aim to halt the development until 'proper consultation and consideration is undertaken'.

All four local councillors have backed the angry residents, saying they too knew nothing of proposal for the biomass construction at the site.

Gordon said: "You can't sugarcoat what the council have done.

"They had opportunities to make it very clear to us at consultations that it would be a biomass unit.

"But instead the only indication was a small box in drawings marked 'energy centre'.

"At no point was it ever described to residents or at consultations that it would be an industrial sized boiler with a 40ft chimney, spouting out fumes.

"We only found out about the plans by accident when we went to the digging out ceremony and someone mentioned it in the passing.

"We had to go to the council and ask to see the plans - had that not happened the council would have powered on with the construction."

Campaigners have distributed flyers to residents in Middleton Drive, Auchenmaid Drive, Moorburn Road and Flatt Road and no one knew about the chimney.

Mr McArthur added: "Not one councillor we have spoken to has been aware either, until we raised it over the past few weeks.

"For not one person to know what was happening shows that any public consultations which have been carried out have been severely flawed.

"If they had been transparent, there would have been locals raising it as an issue from the beginning."

The planned development at the former Largs Academy site is for 122 homes, including 22 supported accommodation houses and a 28-unit sheltered housing complex.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “The potential for some form of energy centre featured in both the draft and final plans for the Flatt Road site, however exact proposals for the district heating system had yet to be confirmed.

“Unfortunately, as plans for the system had not yet been fully developed, local members may not have been aware of the type of heating system being proposed.

“Staff at both consultation events outlined the purpose of the energy centre when talking members of the public through the plans, and plans for a biomass boiler system were discussed in detail with a number of attendees at the events."

The residents are adamant that a different heat source must be considered.

Gordon added: "Aside from it being an obvious eyesore, it has the potential to effect the whole area with its fumes.

"Our strong view is that this is a totally inappropriate type of construction for this type of development - it is what we would describe as an industrial construction in a residential area."

Residents have held talks with NAC officials to air their grievances.

Mr McArthur said: "This meeting was also attended by all four councillors, who again gave us their full support and agreement that the original consultation process was flawed.

"We were heartened by the positive discussions at the meeting but for now, we are just waiting to see the feedback from NAC and we will re-appraise the situation once we receive that.

"We have asked them to investigate the feasibility of alternative heating solutions, which should have a much smaller boiler and chimney and no ugly fuel silos."

Councillor Ian Murdoch says he 'fully supports' the residents and believes the meeting held with officials was contructive.

He told the News: "The council bodies all seem to have listened to the residents' concerns and it seemed like they would take it on board.

"Hopefully this matter can be resolved."

The council spokesperson added: "A follow-up consultation event is being arranged where we will discuss the specifics of the energy centre proposals with residents."