A LARGS councillor has claimed the local authority 'had no option' but to spend money on the north prom - or risk seeing it 'fall into the sea'.

We revealed recently that the local authority had committed to spending almost £3m from this year's budget to extending the prom improvements from the RNLI Slip towards Aubery.

Independent Ian Murdoch says the investment was crucial - or the attraction could have been lost for good.

He added: "I was pleased to see the £2.9 investment in the sea wall but it was something that has been on the cards for a long time - there was really was no other option.

"The structure is in dire straits and there was really no alternative. If the council didn't act now, the prom would have crumbled into the sea."

His comments come as local elected members have their say on the local authority budget, which will shape spending across the area for the next 12 months.

There will be a council tax freeze for the year ahead which will help hard-pressed families in Largs and Millport - but Tory councillor Tom Marshall fears it may not be enough.

The council will continue to face financial challenges with indicative funding gaps of £4.4m and £8.4m for 2022/23 and 2023/24 respectively.

Councillor Marshall, who is the leader of a seven-strong group of councillors in North Ayrshire, said: "We voted against the budget. My worry is that we go from a freeze on council tax to big increases in the near future.

"People in the high tax band of F, G and H, the majority of whom live in the north coast, have already suffered 36 to 42 per cent increases to their council tax over the last three or four years - and most people question what are they are actually getting in return."

SNP Councillor Alan Hill said: "The budget was as reasonable as expected under the circumstances - and I welcome the council tax freeze. A lot of people are struggling at the moment and the last thing we want to see is a soaring bill for that.

"There are financial difficulties going forward but so far the council officers have been able to deliver those savings without too great an effect on services.

"We have to hope that the UK Government provides sufficient funding for the Scottish Parliament to be able to pass on and support local authorities.

"Proposed housing within the budget for the former St Mary's Primary site is a great boost for Largs and will enable young families to get on the housing ladder."

Councillors approved a £365.3million Revenue Budget for 2021/22.

It contains a £10.5million investment in street lighting, £3.2million for a cemeteries replacement programme and £26.6 million towards the Millport flood protection scheme.

Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “Through the freezing of both the council tax and fees for council services, we hope this will minimise the financial impact on our residents.

"Our residents are at the forefront of our minds when setting the budget, so it’s important that we have also committed to stimulate the local economy to ensure we can bounce back from the pandemic."