Criticism has been levelled at the sudden introduction of a temporary 40mph limit on the Largs to Skelmorlie road, amid claims of a "lack of consultation" with the community.

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch told the News that the speed limit was imposed on the coastal road without his knowledge - and his constituents were also taken by surprise by the new measure on the section of trunk road.

Amey says it is carrying out a safety audit on the road which has seen a number of crashes and collisions - including multiple crashes on one day last month.

Amey carries out road maintenance on the road on behalf of the government arm Transport Scotland.

Ian said: "The 40mph limit was unexpected to me - I was never given any prior notification that this was happening and I think the five elected members for the North Coast area (Todd Ferguson, Alan Hill, Eleanor Collier and Tom Marshall) should have been consulted - and I think to be honest our constituents should have been notified in advance of it happening. 

"From the detail given on the safety audit for the road, I cannot see how the 18 month order for a 40mph limit for the amount of safety work that is being carried out on the road can be justified.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: New limit imposed for 18 monthsNew limit imposed for 18 months (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

"They are only carrying af few thousand pounds worth of works on the road and I am still trying to find out more on that one.

"I am shocked elected members were not consulted on that one."

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 £5000." 

A Transport Scotland traffic order which appeared in a recent edition of the News stated that it 'will have the effect of imposing a 40mph speed restriction on that length of the A78 from the southern village gateway for Skelmorlie,  to the northern village gateway for Largs' and 'is required in the interest of road safety will be in operation from May 15, 2023 until November 15, 2024'.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "The temporary 40mph speed limit in its current form is to reduce the risk of errant vehicles leaving the carriageway and passing through the existing fence, until such time as upgrading works to the fence are completed.

"Once this is complete the speed limit will be reinstated. A speed reduction reduces the potential for vehicles to leave the carriageway and also in the event they do reduces the potential risk of injury and incursion.”