THE proposed closure of library and community halls in the area have been labelled as 'madness' by the area's Member of Parliament.

Patricia Gibson recently met the News to discuss her views on a range of issues including the library closure threat, Hunterston, bank closures, the future of Cumbrae Watersports Centre and Brexit's possible impact on the area.

West Kilbride, Fairlie and Skelmorlie communities are facing a battle to hold on to their community facilities while Largs Library could be moved to the Vikingar!

She has called on North Ayrshire Council to come up with a financial solution to save halls and libraries - and minimise closures.

She said: "It is madness and short termism.

"Funds to keep open Fairlie Village Hall of £5,500 a year are a drop in the ocean.

"We have a growing elderly population and the importance of halls with many activities throughout the week cannot be overstated.

"It is exactly the same situation with local libraries which are fundamental in tackling the attainment gap and improving our education.

"North Ayrshire Council have various social and economic challenges but it is important that they get their priorities straight.

"It is complete madness to consider closing these important facilities."

Another important facility which Mrs Gibson wants to see saved is Cumbrae National Watersports Centre.

Mrs Gibson, who attended the 40th anniversary in 2017, said: "I don't want to see it close.

"It is a real asset and I don't want to see it downgraded in any way - it is a quite unique facility.

"It has not been used to its full potential which is one of the problems.

"The website is not very good and no new brochures have been introduced for two years.

"It is a brilliant facility which should be used by schools from North Ayrshire, and beyond."

The future of Hunterston has been in the spotlight this year with concerns over reactor 4 over cracked graphite bricks surrounding the core.

Mrs Gibson said: "EDF and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have the stakeholders meeting with the local residents.

"The matter has been very closely monitored by the Office of Nuclear Regulation.

"The over-riding priority has always been safety and I believe the concerns have been addressed. It is in nobody's interests for that not to be the case."

Speaking about the ongoing Brexit battle, Mrs Gibson says the country should consider a second referendum.

He added: "It was such a big decision and maybe we need to run the vote again.

"There will be an impact on social care services and a real problem with recruitment retention. A lot of staff are EU citizens and they will go. One in five GPs in rural areas are the same.

"Even when you look at food supplies, the supply of fresh food and vegetables is an issue

"Interest rates will rise, people will lose their jobs, food prices will go up, the chaos which will ensue is incalculable.

"We have to look at what we are giving up - and it is a lot."