COMMUNITY councillors have welcomed the potential arrival of a revolutionary cable-making facility at Hunterston Coal Yards – but say that the local area and its residents must be protected.

XLCC has presented to community councils across the North Coast on the proposed subsea cable manufacturing site which could bring up to 900 new jobs.

West Kilbride community councillor Kay Hall says the promise of fresh employment is welcome, but insists the interest of local people and communities must be put first before any plans are rubber-stamped.

Kay said: “The environmental impact is concerning and the huge tower proposed is also an issue.

“The company says that most of the work is going to come in and out by sea, and if you know anything about shipping it’s the filthiest form of transport on the planet.

“However, when they are talking about employing 900 people in North Ayrshire, I’m not sure how the council can reject it.

“Nobody has ever invested in infrastructure in this area and we have to put up so much heavy traffic, so hopefully that will change if this goes forward.”

Fellow community councillor Henry Thomson echoed Kay’s belief that road upgrades in the area would be needed to cope with the development.

He said: “We have had a lot of trouble with infrastructure surrounding the power stations and the railway line already.

“If there were hundreds of new workers at Hunterston every day, it would be interesting trying to cross the road into the village.”

Community council chairman John Lamb says guarantees must be provided by XLCC that their operation will not impact negatively on the locality.

He said: “We need to make sure that the infrastructure will be sufficient to cope with any construction and production at the site.

“We as a community need to find out what guarantees the company can give to North Ayrshire Council and residents in relation to this.”

Todd Ferguson, councillor for West Kilbride and Dalry, has reassured residents that the impact on them and the area will be considered before any future planning application is progressed.

He explained: “When XLCC go through the planning process, all of these issues will be taken into consideration and will be at the forefront of the decision making.

“A lot of proposed developments around Hunterston usually get to the last stage before falling flat on their faces, but we are starting to see more legitimate opportunities being aired.

“It is all very exciting and an opportunity for the future and for lots of local jobs, provided the project is sensitive to the community and environment.”