THE last council-owned public toilets in the Three Towns will close in the spring unless a community group agrees to take them on.

The shock revelation comes from documents released ahead of a meeting of North Ayrshire Council's cabinet next week.

A report asks councillors to approve a 'two month period of community engagement' for the facilities at The Braes in Saltcoats in a bid to identify interest in a community asset transfer.

If agreed, that engagement will start next month - but if there's no interest the facility will shut in April.

The report, by Audrey Sutton, executive director for communities and education, states: "The Braes facility in Saltcoats is subject to frequent vandalism and subsequent closures.

"A high-level estimate provided by the council’s property team last year suggested that £215k would be required for future investment at the Braes.

"Non- domestic rates, utilities and repairs currently cost circa £12k per annum. Staff time and cleaning supplies cost an additional £22,000 per annum."

The toilets, across from Saltcoats Harbour, are currently the only facilities open for use along the Three Towns shore front.

The public conveniences at Melbourne Gardens have been closed since a fire at the facility in November 2021 in which a woman died.

The former toilet block at Ardrossan South Beach was demolished in November - but is due to be replaced within the next two months when the Ardrossan Community Development Trust's new 'hub at the beach' opens - including publicly accessible toilets.

Ms Sutton's report suggests there is hope that the toilets at Melbourne Gardens could also be brought back into use some time in the near future.

It reveals that Inspiring Scotland - a charity who support community groups - has been successful in their application to the repurposing property grant fund and their appointed architect is currently undertaking a feasibility study of the facility and wider site.

It is envisaged that, if possible, the facilities can be restored for use by those attending the outdoor swimming pool in Saltcoats, once this project is completed.

Documents suggest that this facility would be transferred to the SPLASH community group - though a group representative has told the Herald that this will not be the case.

If the South Beach development is completed on schedule those facilities would open before any closure of the toilets at The Braes.

Ms Sutton's report will be considered by the council's cabinet on Tuesday, January 23.