COMMUNITY councillors in Largs have urged North Ayrshire bosses to delay a decision on the future of the town's under-threat public toilets.

As reported earlier this year, North Ayrshire Council (NAC) is in the midst of a public consultation over the future of the toilets at Broomfield, Mackerston, Aubery Park and the Pencil.

Councillors agreed in January to hold a two-month engagement exercise in a bid to gauge community interest in taking over any or all of the four conveniences.

NAC officials had originally proposed closing all four toilets if there were no expressions of interest from the community in running them - but after a furious reaction from local councillors and residents, they backtracked on that idea.

Frank Alexander, a member of Largs Community Council (LCC), raised the issue at the group's most recent meeting - and said closing public toilets was at odds with NAC's own strategic tourism infrastructure plan for the area, a document that's only a couple of months old.

Mr Alexander told LCC members: “This is a North Ayrshire Council tourism and infrastructure development plan and it is riddled with references to public conveniences and their importance.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Frank Alexander Frank Alexander (Image: North Ayrshire Council)

"They are a crucial practical issue for people with disabilities, and also act as multi-functional spaces for changing, taking medicines, breastfeeding and privacy. People with disabilities plan their day round access to public toilets."

Mr Alexander asked his LCC colleagues to back a motion stating that the two-month consultation period on the toilets' future is too narrow, and calling on the five North Coast councillors on NAC to seek a postponement of a final decision until 2025.

Mr Alexander's motion also calls for a meeting between North Coast councillors, NAC officials and LCC members to look at all possible options for the toilets from 2025 onwards - and for that meeting to be given full access to past and projected costs until 2027.

One of those North Coast councillors, the Conservatives' Tom Marshall, tabled a question ahead of a full NAC meeting on March 27 pointing out that four of the five councillors for the Largs area are opposed to any closure, and asking "will the views of elected members prevail?".Largs and Millport Weekly News:

The only public toilet in Largs that doesn't form part of the engagement exercise is the facility on the seafront, where NAC recently spent £300,000 on upgrade work and installed pay gates.

Independent North Coast councillor Ian Murdoch said he and his colleagues would, in the main, support the LCC position. 

He said: “Two constituted groups have been asked. I am totally in support of anybody taking over, as long as it is done correctly and complies with health and safety, and is open seven days a week and for the hours necessary.”

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Community councillor Jim PhillipsCommunity councillor Jim Phillips (Image: Newsquest)

“I have had umpteen constituents phoning me and private messaging me, sometimes in tears, when they have gone to one of the public toilets in Largs that should have been open and weren’t and they had nowhere to go and nobody to help them.”

Community council chairman Jim Phillips said: “If you are going to close the toilets then you are going to kill the town.”

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Aubery has had a men's toilet operating, but the women's toilet has been out of order for more than a year Aubery has had a men's toilet operating, but the women's toilet has been out of order for more than a year (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Phillips said he had the impression that NAC no longer wanted to run the toilets due to the costs involved.

Mr Alexander's motion was carried; North Ayrshire Council will be discussing the public toilet provision issue at 2pm today.