A NEW North Coast ward which will extend from Skelmorlie to West Kilbride and include Cumbrae is being considered amid new boundary change proposals, the News can reveal.

It would be the largest multi-member ward in North Ayrshire with an electorate of 17,567 served by five councillors as opposed to the present ward size of 13,455 served by four.

It would also result in more constituents per councillor than anywhere else if population forecasting for 2024 proves accurate.

The Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) for Scotland has written to North Ayrshire Council chief Craig Hatton with the proposals.

The commission is required to consult councils on proposals for a period of at least two months before seeking the views of others who have an interest.

Secretary Isobel Drummond-Murray said: "The consultation will run until 30 September.

"The council and individual councillors will have a second opportunity to comment during the public consultation which will take place in the autumn."

Pre-1996, various single member ward boundaries have been drawn up but these were then replaced by multi-member wards.

Following the introduction of multi-member wards, the present North Coast Ward was set up and was served by four councillors.

On of those, Conservative Cllr Tom Marshall says he is not a fan of the new system.

He told the News: “In my view the previous system of a single councillor per ward was the best as it allowed closer contact between a councillor and a voter. But the argument of proportional representation has unfortunately won the day

"Some of the issues that arise in multi-member wards include potential difficulties of having to rank a larger number candidates in order on the ballot paper that is listed alphabetically

"It also sees the election of councillors who do not win sufficient votes on the first preference vote only to be elected at much later stages by transfers from others.

"There is also the potential situation of idle councillors who coast along allowing the more industrious colleagues to do all the work.

"It means that there will be much larger geographical area to be covered, resulting in a less detailed local knowledge of individual communities."

He added: "The new proposal of five councillors for the North Coast just increases these problems

"There are other options to rearrange these wards - perhaps a better solution would be a smaller two member and another three member ward.

"The Conservative party will come forward with its own proposals in due course.”