A bid by residents to have a private street maintained from council coffers has been thwarted after it was revealed that it will cost tens of thousands of pounds.
More than 300 locals backed a petition to North Ayrshire Council, hoping to secure the upgrade of the stretch between Winton Street and Hill Place in Ardrossan.
But roads bosses revealed that works to bring the lane up to standard will cost more than £30,000 – and the area belongs to a private company.
Residents have been locked in an ongoing wrangle to persuade council chiefs to carry out much-needed work on the stretch.
A petition which went before the North Ayrshire authority’s audit and scrutiny committee last week attracted 308 signatories.
Residents put pen to paper to call on the council to adopt the lane close to their properties and “allow the undertaking of resurfacing and lighting installation works to take place”.
The petition highlighted “inadequate lighting” that has become a “hazard to residents and all others that use it, in particular the local schoolchildren and their families”.
But roads manager Campbell Dempster told the committee that the location belonged to a private owner, having once been part of the Eglinton estate.
He said the petition had been submitted to the authority in February, but revealed the holding of the lane had transferred from its previous owner to a holding company in 1997.
The committee heard that the roads department’s assessment of the lane found it would cost £28,200 plus VAT to bring it up to a standard suitable to have it adopted by the authority.
They were also told that the authority had been in negotiations with the company, who had been informed that the council would be willing to adopt the road, but only after remedial works had been undertaken.
Mr Dempster described the case needed to upgrade the site as “quite significant”.
He told the committee: “The private road network across the council area is considerable and road services receive regular requests to undertake repairs and maintenance to these private roads.
“We would recommend to audit and scrutiny that the efforts of road services to date to try and engage with Fairhold on behalf of the residents to get them to bring the road up to a suitable standard is noted and we are instructed to continue to try and pursue Fairhold on behalf of the residents to make improvements and offer the road up for adoption.”
The committee also heard that there is currently an estimated roads maintenance backlog of £34.8m.
Councillor John Sweeney said: “I’ve certainly got a great deal of empathy with the petitioners, but taking into consideration Campbell’s report, I think we should go with the recommendation because of the private ownership of the land.”
Councillor Alan Hill added: “I’ve got every sympathy and we’ve all got areas in our wards that are similar.
“If times were different and money was available, it would be great to bring them all up to standard and adopt them, but I suppose if we agree and accept this, all we are going to get is petition after petition after petition from similar areas and there’s no funding to deal with it at the moment, sadly.”
Councillors voted to reject the petition and instead instructed roads bosses to continue to try and pursue the matter with the landowner on residents’ behalf.
By local democracy reporter Tracy Carmichael