Hundreds of local businesses remain in the dark about when thousands of pounds they invested to improve the town will be returned to them.

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch is pressing for answers over a year after it was decided to close the defunct Business Improvement District company, Largs Matters.

Over three hundred companies in the town paid an annual fee in to the funds of the business group, in order to join the initiative six years ago.

Although a decision was met in September 2018 to wind down the project, cash resting in the bank account is yet to be returned to firms who paid the levy.

The project was the vehicle for a number of initiatives designed to raise the town’s profile, bringing a number of festivals such as food fayres and a classic car show.

The companies in the town paid an annual fee depending on the rateable value of their premises after a vote to join the initiative.

Councillor Murdoch raised the issue for a third time at the Council meeting.

He said: "Businesses paid hundred of thousands of pounds to the levy and I think it is fair that they want to know where their money is.

"I asked this question in November and again in May at which time I was told that Largs Matters ltd was in the final stages of being wound down and that the accounts would be audited.

"It has now taken a ridiculous amount of time to bring this business to a close and we need to know what is being done to return the funds.

"Questions need to be answered about what funds are remaining, what its tangible assets are and where they are.

"North Ayrshire Council collected the bid levy on behalf of Largs Matters from local businesses under rates legislation.

"Now that the five year bid has come to an end they should be involved in returning the funds to the businesses or as statute states given to a group with a similar aim."

Councillor Alex Gallagher responded stating that the Largs Matters figures were ‘being prepared’ and would be better known in due course.

He said: “Once accounts are approved and subject to a surplus of funds remaining, arrangements will be made by the council to issue them and a refund of due amounts to levy payers.

"They are still in the process of winding up, and preparing final accounts and until the final accounts are produced we are unable confirm the amount of any refund to businesses.

"Council officers will arrange to meet with the company director as early in the new year as possible and discuss how best to bring the matter to a conclusion.

"But Largs Matter is not the council and the council is not Largs Matters.

"It is going through the proper steps and the council is only involved as a mediary and will be so once the accounts of this company are closed.

"So it is not down to the council it is down to Largs Matters."