Council chiefs have blocked public meetings on the future of community centres in favour of one-to-one discussions with residents.

Nethermains key-holder Andy Robb told Kilwinning’s community councillors they wanted a public meeting in the centre ahead of funding being removed by the local authority – but that the council dismissed this in favour of one-to-one ‘chit chat’ sessions with residents.

Updating members on NAC’s consultation ahead of removing funding from community centres and libraries, Locality Co-ordinator Louise Riddex said: “There are three ways we’re looking at doing it, one of them is online, the other is the workshops every locality will get, the other one is conversation cafe type things where everyone is asked the same questions.”

Community councillor Andy Robb said: “We actually wanted a public meeting, which they [NAC] said they would give us to start with. Audrey Sutton (Head of Connected Communities) said at the NAFCO meeting that we would have public meetings and now she’s turned back and said no.

Louise Riddex responded that: “They’re not so much meetings but the engagement is for the full community and anyone can come along.”

Commuity councillor Andy Robb added he feared ‘there are people who know what’s happening and know which centres are going to shut’.

Louise Riddex said: “I sincerely hope there isn’t as we’d be wasting our time – I think people possibly have ideas of what might happen, but I am assured there has been no decisions made.

“Part of the engagement will be finished by the end of May, then we’ll have a pause and a stop and have a look over the data across North Ayrshire, then look at where we go forward from then, it [the review] is aimed to be finished by November .”

Cllr Donald Reid: “There is a traunch of meetings which started on Monday. That was the first big meeting, my understanding is the meeting was not as well dealt with as it could have been and there has been quite a bit of criticism from groups over its leadership. It [the consultation event] will be a ‘chit-chat’ it will not be a rammy public meeting. That was what was agreed.”

The consultation on ‘Engagement on the future roles of libraries, halls and centres in your community’ events will be held in May, with Kilwinning’s in Kilwinning Academy from 6.30pm to 8pm on May 9.