A NEW Church of Scotland report has revealed a new place of worship could be be built in Largs - but two are set to be shut down.

The long-awaited audit says Clark Memorial Church would 'temporarily' stay open, while St Columba's Parish Church and St John's Church in Largs would close under the proposals.

The draft document has gone out to all the kirk sessions who have had the opportunity to respond before a final decision is made later this month.

With Fairlie, West Kilbride and the new Cumbrae Parish continuing to operate, the findings stated that 'a difficult decision' will have to be made in Largs.

The document reads: "All three churches score well in the audits.

"However, Kirk Sessions in Largs expressed a desire to see a new church building as all three current ones are on the shoreline whilst the population is moving further back from the front.

"We believe that this is a good vision for the medium term.

"In the short term, Largs Clark Memorial should be the temporary base for the congregation.

"Each of the current churches has their strengths, and although St. John's is the front runner on the audit, and St. Columba's also has its merits, it is felt that along with the other facilities, the benefit of a sizeable parking area which Clark Memorial can provide is an asset that is essential for those attending."

The situation in Largs is also complicated by the fact that Clark Memorial has benefitted from Heritage Lottery grants, with conditions attached to that funding not ending until 2033.

The report adds: "We would envisage a team ministry with two full time posts with three places of worship, Cumbrae, Fairlie and one in Largs, and one kirk session.

"This would ensure that Cumbrae is assured of ministerial support on a regular basis too.

"By coming together in Largs, this would give combined resources, people power, skills and finance, and hopefully foster a unity."

Reverend Dr Graham McWilliams, who is link minister with St Columba's and Fairlie Parish Church, said: "All kirk sessions have been involved in the consultation and their views have been taken and compiled and assessed.

"Whatever decisions are made will have to be implemented by 2025. That was agreed by the general assembly and the timescale will be determined locally

"People will rightly say I was baptised or married or had family members who were buried in a particular church, but things change and need to adapt as well to meet modern needs.

"We appreciate it is not going to suit everyone but we can only prepare the best we can.

"A final decision will be taken on June 14, and the plan should be enacted by 2025 but that doesn't mean to say that the buildings will be repurposed by then."