THE former owner of Morris's restaurant has shut up shop with a parting shot at those tasked with saving the traditional high street.

Gordon Scott, 66, closed the popular seaside restaurant for the last time on Friday and thanked friends and loyal customers for their years of support.

But Gordon believes a lot needs to be done to address problems in the town centre to stop other businesses also shutting their doors.

He is now considering joining forces with other retired local businessmen to form an action plan to improve the town.

He said the long standing issues of parking and traffic congestion are millstones around Largs' neck and says more needs to be done to encourage people to visit and spend their money.

Gordon said: "If you look at somewhere like Prestwick, it has a lovely busy town centre with good shops as does Troon. Even Saltcoats has upped its game with fishing tackle, kilt hire, ladies underwear, wool and children's shops while West Kilbride also provides originality with its craft town concept.

"What do we have here? We have coffee shops, estate agents and generally nothing out the ordinary that would bring people in. Some originality is much needed.

"Instead the corporates like Wetherspoons - which has been a nail in the coffin for people like me - have taken over.

"I remember coming to Largs as a child and the variety and atmosphere of the shopping experience was tremendous. That's been lost."

Gordon also waded in to the parking, which continues to be a problem during busy periods.

He added: "The first thing people associate with Largs is the horrendous parking. You won't get a parking space but you likely to leave with a ticket.

"Losing Hasties and IBAC was a big loss - they made the town different to other places."

The Largs businessman, who ran Morris's for over 30 years, reckons the BID project, which was introduced for a five year period between 2013 and 2018 did more harm than good.

Businesses voted upon the concept which resulted in all local shops, cafes, restaurants, and offices having to pay a levy based on the rateable income of their property towards various projects within the town.

It brought local festival events including classic car and food fest and local businesses were able to apply to get reductions on utility bills and shop signage.

However, Gordon said: "The BID (Business Improvement District) did more damage than good. It got up everybody's nose and now businesses have an attitude and don't want to hear about new ideas.

"I have said to other businessmen in the town that when I retire I might get together with other retired businessmen and do something for the town.

"We would do it for free."

Gordon is in no doubt as to one of the biggest obstacles in running any business locally.

He said: "It is the VAT which finished me off.

"It is 20 per cent and that is far too high for small businesses. All that happens is that we put taxes up and you ban more things. Taxing and banning is not the answer to saving the high street. They should make VAT 10 per cent for all high street businesses, 20 per cent for out of town shopping and 25 per cent for online shopping.

"That would help provide countless number of jobs and help bring investment into our community that has been lost."

Gordon recently sold his Morris's restaurant at a private auction for a six figure sum.