TOUR buses have slashed their number of stops in Largs because of parking and congestion problems in the town.

Shop owners claimed this week that the lack of parking in the town has had an impact on its attractiveness to travel operators like Glenton and Shearings.

One of the few car parks in Largs which is capable of accommodating buses, situated near Vikingar!, has a sign which states 'No Coaches', pictured.

Local business people have told the News that there has been a noticeable lack of buses coming to Largs in recent years - and they saw parking is the root cause.

While David Urquhart Travel, Bennetts and Fishers still visit, Glenton's and Shearings do not.

On the Glenton's website, Ayrshire destinations listed include Troon and Ayr, but not Largs, while Shearings has bus tour trip packages to the likes of Oban, Fort William and Pitlochry.

Dodds of Troon have a list of pick-up points in Ayrshire for bus trips around the UK including Ardrossan and Saltcoats, but not Largs.

Largs businessman John Corrigan, who has heavily been pushing for a new car park at Barrfields putting green, believes that tour buses have deserted in favour of other big towns and resorts which offer much better parking facilities.

He said: "There are no tour buses coming to Largs due to the lack of parking. Is it not more economical to have 45 people arrive on a bus and park at Barrfields than 45 people coming by car?

"The sign at Barrfields car park at Millennium Court is not very welcoming - it states 'No Coaches'.

"The problem of parking buses in this town has been ignored for too long and something needs done."

Scott Paton, owner of AD Paton, also says bus tours have been in decline.

He added: "A bus park to encourage bus parties to come back to Largs should be looked into.

"The only available parking for buses is down at the marina, which is too far away from the town centre.

"There should be amenities closer. We used to get a lot of customers coming down from Glasgow and Paisley in the summer months on bus tours, but not any more. It has hit trade.

"They used to park on the Main Street but that was when there was less double yellow lines."

Les Ward, owner of Wards of Largs, says that bus parking should be made a 'top priority' to help local traders.

He said: "St Andrews and Loch Lomond have big car parks for buses. If you have ten buses that is between 450-500 people who would be spending money in Largs.

"I remember when tour buses used to come into Largs one after the other."

Councillor Ian Murdoch told the News that he believes the concerns are another reason to urgently look at the parking issue.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We have not been contacted by any bus companies so have not been made aware of any such issues. In terms of new parking in Largs, we have no plans specifically for tour coaches."