PLANS to bring improvements to the Largs/Cumbrae ferry service are one step closer after a public consultation on queuing arrangements on both sides of the water.

Two options have now been selected for improvements in Largs and at the Cumbrae Slip which North Ayrshire Council and CalMac hope will help manage heavy queues at peak times.

A total of 176 responses to the consultation were lodged by residents, which ran from March 31 until May 26 last year.

In Largs, 46 per cent of respondents to the consultation were in favour of option A, which includes the addition of an extra ferry queueing lane on Fort Street.

Six parking spaces will be retained for residents alongside the stretch, however some parking restrictions may be installed in the summer.

Despite the extra queue, it is noted that traffic is still likely to line up in Bath Street during peak periods, with no real change to queueing procedures.

The second option for the Largs side did include a one-way order for Bath Street, meaning cars could not turn into the busy road from the A78.

However, the this has been rejected, as despite 54 per cent of consultation respondents being in favour, it was not the preferred option among councillors and stakeholders.

The council says introducing a one way system could have a wider impact than those related to ferry access, is likely to take between six and 12 months to achieve - and could be subject to objections.

The local authority also says that option A could be carried out before April next year, and a wider consultation on a potential one-way for Bath Street would be needed.

On Cumbrae, an option to create three ferry queues by realigning the existing carriageway proved most popular among respondents, with 62.5 per cent in favour.

The queueing lanes would all be within 100 metres of the terminal, and would allow for 56 vehicles to queue.

No additional land will need to be purchased to make this option viable, compared to option A for Cumbrae which aimed to keep a single queue but widen the road to create three lanes.

North Ayrshire Council says option B is more complex and expensive than having just one lane, and CMAL have requested that two queuing lanes are provided instead of the planned three.

However, it has been recommended that three lanes are included to maximise queuing capacity, reduce the impact on the road, and allow for any capacity increases in the future.

A cash pot of £385,000 was secured in March this year for the works, and it has been recommended that option A for Largs and option B for Cumbrae are taken forward to detailed design.

The Largs improvements could start before the end of the year, whilst works for Cumbrae may come after if additional funding is needed for the three-queue approach.

The full options and analysis can be found at