ROADWORKS which brought Largs town centre to a standstill cost local business 'thousands of pounds'.

Shop owners told the News that the major disruption in Irvine Road badly hit trade as shoppers avoided the area while local bus timetables were also thrown into chaos as a result of the delays.

With roadworks elsewhere on the Clyde Coast network, there were delays to the Stagecoach 585 service while the Largs Local bus was also affected.

The BT Openreach works at the end of last week have sparked fury among commuters and traders, with calls for better planning to avoid a repeat.

Deli Il Cardo owner John Corrigan, who also owns a number of other businesses in the town, said: "It has been complete chaos. "In the past these jobs would have been done and dusted in the same day by one crew. Now it takes one group to do a survey, another group to resurface the road then someone else to come and tar over it.

"There has been one lane open and the other closed at the roadworks and it has caused huge tailbacks.

"No thought goes into the process as these utility companies seem able to do what they like.

"There are around 1,800 cars an hour at peak times through Largs so you can imagine the effect it has when it is reduced to one lane.

"It has badly affected trade - and not just me, it is affecting everybody. People are avoiding the town centre like the plague, the bill for local businesses will run into thousands.

"It seems to take four crews to deal with one manhole - and it is all staggered. What should be effectively one days work turns into four or five.

"We really need our politicians to do something about it."

Mr Corrigan called on MP Patricia Gibson to take action.

He said: "She was in the paper last week complaining about the state of the former Clydesdale bank but she would be better served looking into the repeated road chaos."

Scott Paton, of AD Paton Butchers, said they had also been hit in the pocket.

He added: "It's time to look at roadworks in the evening like is commonplace abroad. We definitely noticed that it was a lot quieter in the afternoons.

"It has been a difficult period as we had the road closure at Skelmorlie a few weeks ago and the town was deserted that Sunday. Now we have the Fairlie road closure coming up this weekend, which will also have an impact.

"I know the works need to get done but there must be a better solution."

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch called for a more co-ordinated approach between utility companies and road maintenance operators Transerv.

He said: "The issue with the Irvine Road roadworks it that it is utility companies that are involved and they more or less have the right to carry out the work at any time.

"There could be a number of reasons as to why roadworks are left unattended. It may be setting, but there doesn't seem to be a co-ordinated approach between the utility companies and Transerv. Unfortunately North Ayrshire Council has no jurisdiction over this."