MOOTED improvements to queuing at Largs ferry terminal have been hailed – but councillors have warn that upgrades on Cumbrae's side cannot be forgotten.

Two preferred schemes have now been identified by North Ayrshire Council following a public consultation and efforts are being made to move these forward.

Officials say work could start on the Largs side as early as this year, with two queueing lanes set to be created on Fort Street to ease congestion.

However, there are fears that improvements on Cumbrae, which involves creating three distinct queuing lanes, could be much further behind due to the complexity and cost of the chosen design.

Conservative councillor Todd Ferguson says he is delighted changes are finally being made in Largs - but has issued a stark warning that improvements on Cumbrae should not have to wait.

He explained: “I am really happy with the two options because of the extensive community consultation which was very important.

“Both schemes will make a big difference, especially on busy days where traffic can be backed up for hundreds of meters.

“I am a bit concerned about the timescales for the Cumbrae improvements, as CalMac and CMAL are renovating the slip so the queuing works may have to wait.

“Hopefully if any funding for the island side is needed, it can be secured quickly and we are not forgotten about over here.”

Councillor Alan Hill, of the leading SNP administration, is hopeful that the changes can lead to a better experience for tourists and residents using the ferry service.

He said: “Any progress that make things easier, that help the service run smoother and benefit local people is going to be welcome.

“The Largs side is the one which really needs improved and where most of the problems arise at the busiest times of the year.

“Hopefully these changes address the queuing and ticketing issues, alongside the new technology CalMac is bringing in to help that.

“I particularly hope that nobody loses sight of the end users, which are island residents, because it will always be them affected most by any changes.”

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch says that although the best options from the consultation have been chosen, the queuing system in Largs could have been extended even further.

He explained: “I still maintain that removing all parking in Fort Street and putting more ferry queue lanes in whilst maintaining a through-lane heading north would be the best way forward.

“Having more lanes would increase the capacity of the ferry queue to the max and so only on the extremely busy days might the end of the queue come out into Bath Street.

“The changes on the Cumbrae side are a no-brainer, I just hope they can get it done quickly.

“The improvements will make a huge difference to ferry passengers and will help staff better manage the queues.”