An urgent call has been made to clean up an iconic Cumbrae beach before tourists flock to the island for the summer.

North Coast members and community councillors say that Kames Bay is in an ‘unacceptable state’, with seaweed and grass ruining the normally picturesque spot.

Parts of the beach are marked as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means that it must be left in a natural state without any interference, something locals are saying must change.

Councillor Todd Ferguson, who lives on the island, believes the beach’s current state reflect badly on the island - and could dissuade the thousands expected over the coming months from returning.

He said: “Millport is meant to be a tourist destination and people come for that experience, which includes our beaches.

“Hopefully the policy of not removing the seaweed or cutting grass on the beaches is scrapped for the island because it looks really poor.

“It is not a very welcoming sight for visitors, and I don’t believe that we can’t make changes, even though it’s a policy to leave the beaches alone.

“If you look at islands across Scotland their beaches are the focal point, and to have ones here that look tatty because someone wants to let it grass over isn’t acceptable.”

John McHenery, vice-chair of Cumbrae Community Council, believes the beach could be cleaned up to a certain point, without touching any areas of the SSSI.

He explained: “The area of Kames Bay within the SSSI is approximately 300m wide and 170m from the top of the site to the bottom.

“It’s a reason that’s frequently given to not treat the beaches, but it is not an accurate one and something that we should be contesting.

“It is a really poor look for the island not to have clean beaches and we want to speak to the council on this.”

Cllr Ian Murdoch added: “I would always suggest we should ask for the beaches to be cleaned, but unfortunately we don’t always get the answer we want.

“North Ayrshire Council policy in recent years has been to not treat these beaches, and I’m not sure that will change.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “Kames Bay is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and as such we cannot remove the seaweed.

“We are currently in communication with the regulator of the legislation around this, Nature Scotland, to determine if the weeds can be taken away.”