AMBITIOUS plans to create a Flood Protection Scheme for the Garnock Valley are moving forward.

The proposals were drawn up following extensive consultation in Kilbirnie and Dalry and involves the construction of a dam across the upper River Garnock, together with the construction of flood protection walls and flood mitigation measures further downstream.

At a meeting of the North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet, it was agreed that council officers should begin to make arrangements to conduct a public hearing in early 2018.

There are currently four objections to the scheme but negotiations are ongoing to try to satisfy concerns.

Three of the four objections are related to the construction of the dam, while a further objection concerns access over land further downstream. There are plans to hold a public hearing next April, unless these objections are resolved beforehand.

Cabinet Member for Place, Jim Montgomerie, said: “We are pleased that we are able to take the next step towards the Garnock Valley Flood Protection Scheme which, in time, will hopefully offer peace of mind and security to those potentially affected by flooding.

“In the meantime, we will continue to speak with the objectors and hopefully reach an amicable resolution which satisfies everyone. “We are all looking forward to the scheme moving forward and I’m sure the residents of the Upper Garnock area share that view.”

The cost of the flood protection scheme was originally estimated to be approximately £15.5 million however, the scheme development has now been ongoing for some years and the estimated cost is expected to increase as a result.

Schemes confirmed by the Government receive 80 per cent of eligible costs and the council has made a provision within its capital plan to contribute 20 per cent towards a confirmed scheme.