The countdown to the North Ayrshire Council Elections is officially underway following the publication of the Notice of Election on Monday, March 13.

A group of Irvine and Kilwinning SNP council candidates and their agents were the first to turn up at Cunninghame House to lodge nomination papers for the North Ayrshire Council election.

From this week, all prospective candidates can pick up their nomination packs which must be filled out if they want to stand as a local councillor.

They must be completed correctly and handed in to the Election Office at Cunninghame House no later than 4pm on Wednesday, March 29.

Chief executive and returning officer Elma Murray said: “Today marks an important day in the countdown to the beginning of the local elections.

“I would urge anyone that intends to stand as a local Councillor to complete the nomination pack as soon as possible and no later than 4pm on March 29.”

Following Boundary Commission changes, residents across North Ayrshire will be voting for 33 Councillors – an additional three elected members – across 10 Electoral Wards.

Election day takes place from 7am-10pm on May 4 and Irvine’s Portal Leisure Centre will stage the electronic counting of votes the following day