Concerns have been raised by 80% of Largs councillors over a £1.5 million spend on a new cycle path along the town's promenade.

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall is asking a question to cabinet member for the environment, Tony Gurney, at Wednesday’s North Ayrshire Council over the proposal which has been revealed in the NAC agenda for next Wednesday's meeting.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Tom MarshallCllr Tom Marshall (Image: North Ayrshire Conservatives)

The question is: “There is a phase 1 proposal to spend some £1.5m to reduce the width of the North Promenade in Largs by 50% to incorporate a cycle track. 80% of the Ward 1 members are opposed to this.”

There is a big push to try and encourage other modes of transport other than car travel to try and reduce congestion and car parking issues in Largs town centre, as well as a bid to become greener.

Councillor Alan Hill of the ruling SNP administration told the News that those in opposition should put themselves in the position of a "seven-year-old cyclist" and asked whether they should be pushed out on to the roads.

Speaking at Largs Community Council meeting last night, Independent Councillor Ian Murdoch voiced strong opposition to the plans, and was against losing what he believes is valuable space on the promenade.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Ian MurdochCllr Ian Murdoch (Image: North Ayrshire Council)

He said: “I was very happy to see Tom Marshall put that question forward.

“Shortening or narrowing Largs Prom to five metres in the first place on the north prom isn’t going to work; it is bonkers.

“Not just that, but the proposed cycle track goes around the back of the Moorburn shelter, and on the grass, and it runs through the area which is normally where the Viking Festival stage is, and other events hold stages.

“It is unworkable, and how do you stop people coming down from Paisley and Glasgow during busy days and standing on the cycle track.

“Cumbrae is crying out for Sustrans money – the money should be going there.”

Councillor Hill said: “Personally I think a cycle track in Largs is a good idea.

"Where it is located and sited may need to be fine tweaked and there will have to be a public consultation first, so let us see what the public have to say, and take it from there.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Alan Hill Cllr Alan Hill (Image: North Ayrshire Council)

“I think it a case of jumping the gun like the situation last year over concerns over closure of the public toilets, before any consultation had taken place, as everyone is entitled to have their say and it is not just down to the five elected members.

“The plan may need to be redrafted to minimise any effects on the prom. But in principle we are trying to get cyclists off the road, and youngsters cycling in a safe location is to be welcomed, providing we can have a cycle track which will provide as little disruption as possible.

"It is staggering that some think Largs residents are not capable of using  a shared space.

“Every other holiday resort at home and abroad is able to accommodate cyclists on their seafronts, so why can’t Largs?

“We also need joined up thinking with paths and other routes.

"For the people who are getting exercised, maybe they should put themselves in the position of a seven-year-old going out on their bike.

"Are they saying that we should be pushing youngsters out on to the roads to cycle? I don’t think that should be the case, and we need to find a way to make this work.” 

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “The Council is investigating the potential to improve active travel between The Fishworks and Aubery Park.

“The project is in the early stages and an engagement plan is being developed. Further information will be provided when the engagement plan is finalised.”

The council's transport strategy includes active travel which relates to making journeys in physically active ways, such as walking, cycling, wheeling (i.e. the use of a wheelchair or other mobility aid) and horse riding.

Their strategy states: "The benefits of active travel include improved health, improved community safety, and reduced environmental impacts. Importance of active travel active travel has an important role to play in achieving carbon reduction targets by switching short journeys which are often made by car to walking, cycling and wheeling.

"This contributes to the council’s net zero ambitions and declaration of a climate emergency."