COASTWATCH have officially been handed ownership of the Irvine beach toilets.

The charity will now take over the running of the block at the beach after striking a deal with North Ayrshire Council bosses.

Earlier this year, NAC faced a furious backlash from Irvine residents over budget plans to close the beach toilet block as well as the facilities in East Road - ahead of the usual summer boom for Irvine beach.

But now Coastwatch have stepped up to take over the running of the toilets to ensure they are of a high standard for tourists.

As well as maintaining the toilets, the harbourside safety charity will use the office facility to increase their presence on the beach.

NAC approved the Temporary Occupation Licence to Coastwatch with the current running cost estimated at £10,000.

Repairs have already been carried out and donation boxes will also be introduced at the toilets to add to the funds for the Pilot House refurb.

Coastwatch Irvine chair Billy Lamb said: “I’m really happy because this puts us back in contact with the users on the beach.

“We started off with our yellow caravan every Saturday and people knew we were there and we seem to have lost a bit of contact being at the Pilot House.

“What people don’t realise is that when the Pilot House refurbishment starts we’ll be homeless, so moving into the toilet block area is a good move for us.”

Billy added: “We’re hoping to install gratuity boxes and get a wee tuck shop going but there’ll be no hot food.

“We’ve had the light fitting replaced and it’ll be fully decorated.

“The toilets will also be open longer from about 8am until around 9pm or 10pm.”

The council report stated: “The group will continue to provide access to the toilet accommodation for tourists and residents and use the additional accommodation to undertake partnership work with the council and other partners in terms of their core safety remit.

“The land upon which the toilet and office property has been built is in the ownership of the council as Trustees for the Common Good and to comply with various legislative requirements the council will require to advertise its intention to dispose of the building and land and consult on that recommendation.”