Every year throughout the summer months the streets of Largs that are nearer to the seafront attractions turn into an every man for himself street fight for a place to park. The months between April and October can be absolute hell for residents as they attempt to locate a place to park near to their homes. When the Viking Festival is in town, this situation becomes much worse and further descends into a farce. Driveways become blocked, tempers become frayed. And this is all because the seafront car park is closed to allow the fare to take up residence. Where exactly is the additional traffic volume meant to go?

Now I am all for supporting the Viking Festival, I accept that local businesses benefit from the extra footfall and I encourage this, the problem is the traffic mismanagement in Largs. That is a problem that belongs to North Ayrshire Council and don't be mistaken by thinking that this is a problem that only exists when the festival is ongoing, far from it, this is a problem most of the year but worse in summer.

I witnessed an ambulance stuck in gridlocked traffic in Largs town centre just last Saturday 26th August, it was attempting to reach a casualty who had been riding a scooter and had a collision with a local taxi just at the junction with Crawford Street, two buses at the bus stop travelling south one with its tail end hanging out and nose to tail traffic travelling north causing the ambulance to be delayed.

Personally, I left my car at home on a sunny bank holiday Monday only to witness it being crashed into by a vehicle from out of town that failed to stop with an uninsured driver that the police have been unable to trace. This has left me out of pocket as I am the one who has had to pay out the excess fee to the insurers of my car to have it fixed and then there is the knock on effect of the inconvenience of being without a car until it is repaired.

It is not without notice that over the years, many residents of the town have brought this to the attention of North Ayrshire Council and in return North Ayrshire Council have made some attempts to address parking in the town centre but much of addressing the issue in the town centre has caused the problem at least in part to moved to other areas of the town. Those other areas of the town are only a couple of streets from the seafront.

Have you ever tried to get out of the car park at Morrisons on such a sunny Saturday or bank holiday? It is to be avoided due to the time it can delay you. It is not only Morrisons, it is any shop you need to visit in the town, this situation just puts you off using the towns local businesses.

I offer up a suggestion, for residents we can have parking permits and permit parking can be introduced on the affected streets, additionally, at both ends of the town, a park and ride scheme could be introduced incorporating the local bus services through the town. There is plenty of space available in fields that are not used at both the North and South ends of the town. Could the area around the new crematorium that is under construction at the top of the Haylie Brae be given some parking to allow this to be incorporated into a park and ride scheme? This would alleviate some of the pressure for local residents.

Parking is not the only issue through the mismanagement of traffic in Largs. The A78 is a major road, the artery for the west coast between Greenock and Prestwick, it carries a lot of vehicles every day. It appears unable to cope with the additional traffic volume. This whole situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency as it is a situation that is only getting worse every year with more cars on the road and more visitors wanting to come to Largs on a sunny day.

Brian McDiarmid