PROPOSALS which could see a number of public toilets across North Ayrshire remain open are at an advanced stage.

Constructive talks have been held with a number of community groups which would enable them to take responsibility for the facilities through a Community Asset Transfer.

The potential transfer would see public toilets in Irvine, West Kilbride, Millport and on Arran come under community ownership.

Yvonne Baulk, Head of Physical Environment at North Ayrshire Council, said: said: “Like all local authorities, we are having to balance reducing resources with an increasing demand for our services. Since 2010, we have had to find £73m of savings which means that difficult decisions have to be made.

“In light of these reducing resources, a decision was taken by the council in February 2016 to close most of our public toilets, with the closures planned for March 31, 2017 to give officers time to work with communities to develop proposals to transfer ownership and operation of public toilets to those communities that wished to maintain provision.

“Since then, we have held positive discussions with a number of community groups which may allow some of the public toilets to remain open, subject to a Community Asset Transfer.

“We will continue to meet with representatives of the groups to offer support and advice which would enable them to assume operational responsibility for these facilities.”

An update of the discussions was presented to North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (March 14) and detailed progress on the proposed transfers which include:

* Irvine Beach Park – Coastwatch have agreed to the transfer of the toilet pavilion with the intention of maintaining public access. Meanwhile, the toilets at East Road, Irvine, will close on March 31, 2017 as the Portal Leisure Centre is now fully operational and has public toilets within the main entrance.

* West Kilbride – the Civic Society has confirmed an interest in assuming responsibility for the toilet block in the Glen Road car park and officers are now working with the organisation to progress a Community Asset Transfer.

* Millport – Extensive discussions have taken place with Cumbrae Community Development Company with a view to transferring five public toilets on the island. The Council has appointed an advisor to work with the organisation to help support its ambitions.

* Arran - Plans are also at an advanced stage to transfer four public toilets on Arran under the Community Asset Transfer scheme to local organisations.