A NEW pay car park is coming to Largs after a deal was struck for the council to purchase a key piece of town centre land.

The News can reveal that a deal has been struck between North Ayrshire Council and Stephen McDonald, the owner of Lounge, for the car park behind his establishment.

The Bellman's Close site will provide around 20 new parking spaces in the town and provide a facility that is vital to protect tourism and trade, according to campaigners.

Largs businessman John Corrigan welcomed the news to provide some extra spaces but says more needs done to prepare Largs for a fresh influx of visitors.

Mr Corrigan launched a petition for a car park to be built at Barrfields Putting Green after fears that visitors and bus parties were avoiding the town due to limited parking.

He said: "It is good to see that this deal has been finalised but in reality, with only 20 spaces, these will probably be taken up by locals.

"It doesn't solve the problem for all the tourists who come.

"The last we heard was that all four councillors had backed the car park at Barrfields Putting Green and hopefully that will be sorted for next year so that Largs is able to provide enough spaces for when the tourists return.

"Twenty spaces at Bellman's Close is going to take a couple of cars off the street, which is a good thing, but it is only replacing the spaces that they took away when they re-jigged the town centre so it is still very important that the car parking issue isn't forgotten about.

"With all the money being spent on the Covid-19 response by the council, hopefully there are still some funds left as the Barrfields car park would help get the economy get back up and running when things do re-start."

A council spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to conclude the purchase of the car park at Bellman's Close in Largs which will provide around 20 parking spaces in the town centre.

“While it is proposed that this car park will become a pay and display facility, plans to open the car park and install ticketing infrastructure have been delayed due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Some minor works will be carried out to improve the surface of the car park in the short term.

The council are also involved in the decriminalisation of parking with one hour limits proposed for Largs Town Centre parking, which was supposed to be introduced in the late summer.

However this had been delayed to early 2021, with the possibility it could be delayed further due to the ongoing situation.

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch said: "An awful lot has had to be put on hold because of the Covid-19 situation but with the expected rise in staycations, Largs has to be ready. I have been a long term supporter of increasing car parking spaces in Largs.

"We need to come up with an amicable agreement about what we do regarding further parking creation in Largs.

"Businesses in the local area have been hurt severely by Covid-19 and we need to support anything that will help them recover."