A DANGEROUS set of steps in Fairlie is an ‘accident waiting to happen’ say residents.

The route, which link the property to Pier Road in the centre of the village, have been crumbling away for years and North Ayrshire Council are refusing to take ownership, insisting that only half the steps belong to them.

Residents of a nearby set of flats are also voicing their concerns, with one saying he fears a serious fall using them.

Tom Forran, 76, has dementia and lives on his own, with his love of walking well known around the village.

His brother-in-law Andy McGilvray, 66, says he fears Tom, pictured, could end up badly injured unless the steps are made safe.

He said: “There’s an element of public safety, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

“The council maintain the grass bank, I don’t see why they can’t maintain the steps.

“There are people out there walking dogs, there’s children running about, it’s not just the occupants of those flats.

“Half of Fairlie those steps, I can’t think of any other place in the village where the walkway is as dangerous as that.”

Mr McGilvray, added: “Tom thinks there’s nothing wrong with him. He thinks he’s as sprightly as he was when he was 20.

“He thinks that he’d be able to climb these steps no matter what, even if they were covered in ice."

Residents say that in the winter months, the other access routes into the property, a boggy path and the stony beach, are almost impassable, especially to those less able.

The issue was first raised to the council in 2015 by Kevin McKay, who owns two of the downstairs flats.

He said: “Someone needs to fix these steps, I don’t care who it is.

“It seems a bit crazy that people pay council tax and the council own the land but they’re just saying they’re not going to take care of their own steps, they’ll just let them get worse and worse and worse.”

In an email sent to Mr McKay seen by the News, a council employee told him that the roads department were not willing to take the stairs under their ownership because they are deemed unsuitable as they lead directly onto a road with no visibility.

Mr McKay added: “I’ve just had a little baby and carrying her down the steps is quite frightening.

“Soon there will be no way to get down the steps and you’ll have to slide down the grass bank.”

Residents say that the dark, winter nights are especially difficult, with overgrown bushes, ice and loose steps resulting in several falls, including for Jenifer Wilson, a neighbour of Mr Forran.

She said: “Coming down the stairs for me is not good because the handrail is not the best either.

“You’ve got to walk side-on, because you can’t put a full foot width on the step.

“When you’re carrying shopping, and trying to hold on to the railing, it’s a nightmare.

“The council just aren’t interested.”

Councillor Alan Hill said: “I am currently carrying out some investigations into this matter."

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “We are aware of this issue and have been trying to find a solution for some time. Unfortunately, as the steps are not in council ownership, we are unable to carry out the works which are required.

“We sympathise with the residents regarding the current situation and will happily liaise with the landowners in order to find an appropriate solution.

“In the meantime, we will cordon off all steps to deter people from using them.”