SNP councillor Alan Hill says that the chance of a £1.5m investment to improve cycling opportunities in Largs is far too good to lose, as debate raged on regarding plans for a track on the prom.

The issue of the possible closure of public toilets in Largs was also raised as four out of five councillors who represent the area are opposed to the incorporation of a cycle track on the prom and the closure of  conveniences in the town.

At the recent North Ayrshire Council meeting, Conservative councillor Tom Marshall said: “There is a proposal to spend some £1.5m to reduce the width of the north Promenade in Largs by 50 per cent to incorporate a cycle track. Eighty per cent of the Ward 1 Members are opposed to this. 

"There is also an ongoing consultation in relation to public toilet provision in Largs which may result in the closure of 80 per cent of the toilets. Eighty per cent of the Ward 1 Members are opposed to this. 

"Will the views of the elected members prevail?"

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Addressing the cycle path matter first, Councillor Alan Hill responded: "The simple answer is it is far too soon to say. The proposal in terms of the Sustrans work in the town is still at a early stage. There were various proposals which range from a completely separate cycle track to a cycle track within the shared space through to work being done to improve the shared space itself.

"This is a Sustrans project which is being funded by monies which are not provided by North Ayrshire Council, and as a Cabinet member I would not like to be saying no to investment in our local area until such times we see what the final outcome of the proposal is and the public have opportunity to feed into that."

In relation to the public toilets situation, Cllr Hill responded: "It is probably safe to say that 100 per cent of people and elected members are opposed to the closure of public toilets but unfortunately we are in a constrained situation in term of finance which means that some of these decisions have to be looked at over time.

"There is public consultation underway to see if any local groups would be interested in taking over the management of these toilets. That consultation has not been completed."

Cllr Marshall countered: "I don't see the point of being a local member if our views do not prevail. Cllr Murdoch has also expressed very clearly why 80 per cent of us are opposed to this but it means that there will be a total change to the promenade in Largs.

"I don't know if Councillor Hill knows the meaning of promenade - if you were to google it you would get lots of words like stride, march ambulate, step... it doesn't say cycle, and the email from Cllr Murdoch clearly shows pictures of how congested this promenade is.

"We do appreciate the funding is coming to Sustrans but because they are going to give us money it doesn't mean we need to take it. We can't fill in the potholes in Largs, we can't get the toilets sorted in Largs.

"Does Cllr Hill think that money should be spent on the promenade or kept for the toilets and getting the potholes fixed."

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Councillor Alan HillCouncillor Alan Hill (Image: Newsquest)
Cllr Hill said: "It is an impossible question to answer because Sustrans funding is not going to be used on our toilets or the potholes or for any other purposes other than those that Sustrans are bringing forward. If Cllr Marshall is suggesting that we are not going to look at projects that will bring in inward investment to our locality then that is fine but it is not something I agree with him on.

"There are issues to do with the current proposal which I accept, and I am not necessarily against the thrust of the question in terms of the proposal on the table in relation to the prom, but I am not prepared to close down discussion, and instead see whether we can get investment into the town which improves the promenade and the cycle ways.

"The promenade has always been used by cyclists, and if he is suggesting that we are going to put young people onto the main road rather than the promenade, then that is something else that I would disagree with him on."