CONCERNS have been raised that Cumbrae will be 'flooded with tourists' once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Members of Cumbrae Community Council fear that the reopening of the island will need to be managed to avoid chaotic scenes.

Chairperson Graham Wallace, pictured, says it is vital that lessons are learned from the easing of the first lockdown last year.

He said: “We know exactly what will happen when lockdown restrictions are lifted as tourists flood the island.

“The period after the first lockdown was chaos and I think we all know that it is coming again after this one.

“We had issues with ferry queues and big delays on both sides of the water, and unfortunately any changes on these fronts won’t be delivered for the start of the summer season.

“It is what we do as an island to try and manage the situation. It is good to have visitors but not in the chaotic scenes we saw last year.

“It will be instant and it will be heavy, and it has got to be managed.”

Community councillor Charlie Shaw says the rules need to be made clear to avoid tourists breaking the rules by coming to the island.

He said: “Somehow we need to make sure the rules for the island are clear if we go back to a tier system.

“It will be against the regulations for anyone from a higher tier to travel to a lower tier, and that must be emphasised.

“CalMac reported last year that its summer days were busier than in previous years, and it’s only going to get worse this time.”

Councillor Ian Murdoch has suggested that the community council should contact the government to ask for Cumbrae to be given special protection ahead of an ease on restrictions.

He explained: “At this stage nobody knows how the Scottish Government is going to open up and what kind of restrictions will still be in place.

“It might be worth going to the government or the local MSP and asking them to bear Cumbrae in mind with restrictions and get assistance that way.

“The government can’t treat Cumbrae in the way they do with the rest of the islands, Cumbrae is unique with the amount of daytrippers that come over,

“Largs to Cumbrae is the busiest route that CalMac have so it is important to highlight that with the people that do have power.”

Councillor Tom Marshall added: “It will be up to the Scottish Government how and when the island opens up. The council doesn’t really have any authority on ferry travel.”