A MEETING has been held to discuss ways to improve Irvine’s Christmas lights after disappointment from residents in recent years.

A meeting was held on Monday, April 9 with residents, community councillors and members of the Irvine Special Events groups.

Representatives from businesses Bar Sport, Shells Scoops and Shakes and Harbour Lights were also in attendance, also expressing interest in improving Irvine’s Christmas Light’s this year.

This was after last year’s lights sparked outrage when they were switched on - the first event since 2014.

Sylvia Mallinson, of the Irvine Special Events groups, said events had been cancelled in recent years due to weather, as well as high street works in 2016 and last year.

She said: “I had got a phone call from police and fire because of winds of up to 90 miles per hour, we were on the phone to event insurance and we went with instructions that we wouldn’t be able to put it on.

“The following years there were lots of works taking place in the High Street.”

Concerns were raised that upcoming works in the high street could also obstruct any 2018 switch on event – however North Ayrshire Council have said work will be carried out in stages with the area town centre open to pedestrians.

Provost Ian Clarkson said: “We had crowds of 14,000-16,000 people over the two years and it does take a hell of a lot of planning.

“It takes a lot to get a real celebrity like Mark what’s-his-name [Wright] to switch them on – it takes a bit of doing to get them pretty cheap.”

Irvine East Cllr John Easdale suggested the group could ‘can get the Provost for pretty cheap’, with Cllr Clarkson responding: “You wouldn’t get a crowd of 16,000.”

It was agreed that the Irvine Special Events group will continue taking responsibility for the planning and organising of the Christmas Lights, with a number of attendees expressing their desire to join the group to improve Irvine’s switch on this year.

The group’s next meeting will be on April 23 at 7pm in the Vineburgh Community Centre.