As a long-time editor of this blessed blatt I appreciate more than most the importance of a local newspaper in holding authorities to account.

It is important for the paper to be adversarial in dealing with councils and politicians, on many occasions, and to scrutinise decisions affecting the community.

So, for example, I have looked at the stories uncovered by our journalists over the past few weeks: the stuff that you would not know about without reading all the details, rather than just fleeting Facebook messages.

'Fears over fire risk at planned battery plant' was a topical and prophetic issue raised by Councillor Todd 'Nostradamus' Ferguson, because a week later there was a fierce, destructive blaze at a similar plant in Kilwinning.

Todd expressed concern at potential danger from the planned battery storage site at the Hunterston estate.

While welcoming the new jobs, the Conservative member stated: "It is rather concerning that there doesn't appear to be any policy in place to deal with a fire at such a facility."

There will be now!

A Largs man told me the other day that a proposal he put to North Ayrshire Council for a tourism book which he has written was being dealt with by "an agile worker". Believe it or not, this is how a council officer working from home is described.

This tied in with the story 'Council site like 'Marie Celeste'', in which veteran Conservative councillor Tom Marshall highlighted the lack of staff actually working in the NAC offices in Irvine.

It's crazy and lazy that the Cunninghame House HQ, which should have more than 1,000 employees, often has what he describes as only "a handful of staff" in place. Apparently, hundreds of our public servants are working from their living rooms or kitchens. Disgraceful. I wonder what the HQ heating and lighting bill is.

The headline 'Concerns over new £1.5m Largs cycle path' revealed that council officials are considering turning half of the promenade into a cycling track! Have they ever been to the town during the holiday months and busy weekends?

Four of the local councillors have quite rightly objected to reducing the width of the north promenade - with a new sea wall, incidentally - by 50 per cent to satisfy cyclists.

As a spokesman for the SNP run-authority. I suspect the other councillor, Alan Hill, was forced into defending the daft idea but, apparently, we will be consulted. Wheel see about that.

The 'News' has also revealed that the council will subsidise KA Leisure Trust, who operate such venues as Vikingar!, Routenburn golf course, and Largs Academy campus by more than £5 million in the next year.

I don't mind supporting leisure services, but have sent a question to KA about why, on their website, they don't mention the voluntary-run Barrfields Theatre under their Vikingar! profile. The theatre is a success story providing footfall and money to KA.

I've pointed out before that for most of my 50 years involvement with this paper, it was the elected councillors and not the officials who made the decisions. Now, the reverse seems to be the case.

Keep up the good work, Largs & Millport.

Thought for the Week: The new generation want to rewrite history. Does that mean it will be misspelled and have no punctuation?

The other day I was minding my own business (I do sometimes, honest), walking downtown in Largs on way to meet my 'constituents' at a coffee shop, when I heard a familiar call: "Hoi, Drew, can I speak to you?"

The young lady was pushing her ill mum in a wheelchair and she pointed to a broken kerb in Aitken Street, saying: "When are the council going to repair the pavements?"

She informed me that she had to buy a new wheelchair because the previous one was broken on a ragged kerb in the town centre. 

Apparently, the accesses from many street junctions in trying to push chairs across the road or to lift them on to pavements are non-existent or problematic.

This is compounded by the number of potholes to be found on most streets which for disabled and chairbound people turns a daily trek into an obstacle course.

Perhaps the council's 'agile' staff could make more use of their time out of the office noting the pavement and pothole problems which require repair?

I know they cannot fix all of them in a constrained financial year but it would seem they need to allocate more money to making a start. 

Over to the elected councillors who represent their constituents.