The speed limit at an accident blackspot north of Largs has been reduced from 60mph to 40mph for a temporary period of 18 months.

The move caused surprise among motorists when it was introduced last Friday on the A78 between Largs and Skelmorlie.

Trunk road maintenance company Amey says the new lower limit will be in place until October 2024.

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall told the News that the speed limit was only temporary.

The coastal road has seen a number of road accidents recently, including one afternoon in which there were two accidents on the same stretch of road last month.

In the same week a driver was arrested following a night-time crash in the same area.

Councillor Marshall said: "I am aware that a safety audit is being carried out on this particular stretch of road with a view to looking at what can be done to make it more safe, white lining it or putting up studs up the side.

"Amey, who carry out road maintenance on the A78, have been wanting to do it and have received funding and permission from Transport Scotland.

"There has been a debate about overall reducing the speed limit on the stretch from 60mph to 50mph.

"I personally think it is unnecessary to do this for the careful drivers but there are obviously people who drive that road at excessive speed.

"I think there may well be a case for average speed cameras to be installed at each end of the road - I think that certainly would work."

The area has frequently been an accident blackspot for drivers - and Cllr Marshall was asked whether the speed limit should specifically be reduced during adverse weather conditions where on some occasions in recent years cars have spun off the fencing and onto the beach.

He said: "I think that goes back to my comment regarding responsible driving - if the road is flooded etc or there is heavy rain the onus is on the driver to take extra care and drive to the conditions."

As recently reported at Largs Community Council meetings, significant level of speeding have been noted by police monitoring the stretch of the A78 north of the town.

Unmarked police cars have also been used by police in order to combat the problem.

Officers say they have detected a higher number of motorists that speed and drive inappropriately for the road conditions at various locations compared to last year.

A spokesperson for Amey said: "Following a collision investigation on the A78 between Largs and Skelmorlie, our Strategic Road Safety team have created a programme of road safety upgrades to be implemented at this location.

"These upgrades include new markings, road studs, and signage and the 40mph TTRO will be in place for 18 months to ensure the safety of road users.

"The full programme of improvements is still in development with the initial cost of the markings and signage being approximately £5,000."