NEW figures have shown that cash generated by Largs seafront car park has dropped by £75,000 during lockdown.

The revenue from the facility pays to local projects as well as maintenance for the seafront toilets and 'big belly' bins to compress rubbish and prevent the scourge of seagulls on Largs prom.

Last year between April and August, the car park brought in a total of £129,370 but this year has only made £53,819.

The figures were given to the News following a Freedom of Information request to North Ayrshire Council.

The impact of coronavirus and the start of lockdown had an impact on the March figures in 2020 which were £7552 compared with £12,796 in the same period 12 months before.

The re-opening after lockdown has saw the seafront car park raise £19,125 compared to £27,280 in 2019.

Conversely, with the introduction of the UK Government's Eat out to Help Out Scheme in August, figures for 2020 were an improvement on last year's in terms of funds generated as people headed to the town centre to enjoy a meal.

It raised £27,141 compared with £25,306 last year during the same period.

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch said the numbers were a concern.

He added: "It is obviously a stark drop and hopefully we will have a clearer picture of where we are at at the end of the financial year.

"The large drop in income will restrict new projects that we can support and we need to work around it the best we can.

"The increase in August is self explanatory. The rise in staycations meant people came here more, as well as going across to Cumbrae and parking at the seafront to make the journey.

"Hopefully the situation will improve next year and the income will go back to normal levels."

A council spokesperson said: "It is difficult to predict annual income for 2020/21 as the present situation gives too many variable factors.

"Regular, necessary outgoings/payments ie, public conveniences, Big Belly Bins, grounds maintenance charge, rates, will be covered by existing funds.

"The contribution to Largs causes from the car park fund is at the discretion of elected members."

The revenue generated from the facility has helped fund a string of projects, including the £100,000 skate park and the Mackerston swing park, as well as a host of improvements on Largs Promenade.

Up until recently, the car park, which has 140 spaces, was the only one that operated a pay and display system on Largs shore. A new pay car park facility has been installed at Bellman's Close, and the Gateside Street car park will also provide revenue for the council's general account in 2021.

The 'take a ticket on entry and pay when you leave' facilities have costs of £1 for up to an hour, £3 for up to three hours and £4 for over three hours.

Each year, the council officers and local councillors come together and decide upon the local projects which are deserving of the distribution of the funds.

The seafront car park previously provided funds for the local authority's coffers but following a long-running battle it was agreed that the money could be ringfenced to be used locally.