A reporter has been appointed to make a final decision on the appeal over permission for a controversial solar farm plan on Cumbrae.

Comsol Energy lodged an appeal in August against North Ayrshire Council's refusal of its planning application.

Stephen Hall has been chosen by the Scottish Government to investigate the company's appeal.

The government's planning and environmental appeals division (DPEA) says Mr Hall will make an 'unaccompanied site visit' to the island as part of his investigation.

Cumbrae Community Council has also submitted a detailed response to the DPEA, which Mr Hall will consider along with appeal documents lodged by the applicant.

The DPEA says it is "likely that after carrying out the site inspection the reporter will have enough information to make their decision and it will be issued in due course".

A reporter appointed by Scottish ministers decides most appeals.

In a small number of cases, ministers will make the decision after receiving the appointed reporter’s report and recommendations.

Reporters, who are normally very experienced planners, lawyers or architects, are appointed by ministers to each case, either to make a decision on behalf of ministers or to report to ministers with a recommendation.

A government spokesperson said: "Whatever the process for any appeal, core principles of fairness and robust decision-making will be at the heart of it."

Comsol has insisted its plans will have not have a deterimental effect on tourism on the island.

Protesters, led by Cumbrae Community Council, organised what they called a 'Rally for Democracy' on the island on September 16.

Objectors have questioned the proposed location for the site, and raised concerns over the impact on the local environment.