Anger was expressed at a recent Largs meeting in relation to the handling of proposed cuts to important services from school libraries to public toilet provision.

Community councillor Jamie Black had a major gripe over the handling of proposed cuts to the four public toilets in town and the school library provision – and while in both cases the matters have been delayed for now, Mr Black feels they were poorly handled.

The matter was discussed at Largs Community Council's meeting which is open to the public, and was held at the former soft play area at the Vikingar!

Mr Black said: “The school library cuts was appallingly managed by North Ayrshire Council. It was done by the back door where the librarians were informed before anyone else, the school or the head teacher.

"I am on the Largs Primary Parent Council and we met with the depute head teacher, and we were unanimously opposed to it.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Community councillor Jamie BlackCommunity councillor Jamie Black (Image: Newsquest)

“It was appalling that the council rolled that forward and then we had to fight to retain it. How does that come about? It was the same with the public toilet issue in Largs.

“Suddenly there is a document paper there that they are going to close the toilets unless someone is interested, knowing that there had been no prep work or consultation."

SNP councillor Alan Hill, pictured below, who is a member of the ruling administration at North Ayrshire Council, said: “It came to the full council as a budget proposal. It was one of the savings that was brought forward to the full council as part of the budget process, but there are issues around these kind of savings.

“You are right in that it involves staff, and the impact of the staff comes first, and otherwise you open up every single budget decision to full glare of publicity and discuss staff contracts in public.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

“I don’t disagree that there are issues around about the process and that is one of the reasons why we have agreed to delay it till January.

“The way the school library service is involved across the school community is anything but equitable and that is for all sorts of historical reasons and something that also needs to be ironed out. Not all the schools have access to the same facilities and that is something we need to smooth out as part of the discussion.”

Mr Black said: “It just seems proposals come without the right impact assessment. The issue of the public toilets – there was no impact assessment of closing four public conveniences in the town. But for the school also – no educational impact assessment.

"I quizzed the school deputes. It is integral to the curriculum and it is over subscribed. We will be keeping a close eye on it, as January is not that far away.”

Conservative Councillor Tom Marshall said: “The parent councils put forward a good argument which was also a big help in the situation.

“There were proposals to cut the school librarian staff from five to two, and some of us were invited to the Largs Academy Parent Council and there were good presentations given about retaining it as it was.

"I raised the issue at the full council meeting and Cllr Alan Hill came up with a proposal to keep the school library service until January when it will be looked at again which was accepted.

“The thing that was of interest to me was that parents were saying pupils found the library a place of safety. If they find life difficult in the school, as it can be, they can go into the library and meet the librarian, so this is a very good thing that the school library is staying open.”

Cllr Hill confirmed that the consultation regarding the public toilets in Largs was continuing with groups in the area having been approached about running the facilities.