Largs' long-standing parking problems, which have made motorists irate through the summer months, look set to be resolved.

New parking wardens are set to be introduced as the decriminalisation of parking regulation takes place, though it won't happen until the end of the year or the start of 2024. It means that police will no longer be enforcing the matter as North Ayrshire Council takes over.

What is decriminalisation of parking? 

Decriminalised Parking Enforcement is a regime which enables a local authority to administer its own parking penalties, including the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices to vehicles.

It also means that shorter stay parking will come into play in Largs town centre of one hour parking and no return. This means that people will only be able to park in Largs town centre for an hour, freeing up spaces and making it easier to park, albeit for a shorter spell than they can now.

Attendants will also be keeping an eye on the Gateside Street car park after concerns were raised that it was becoming a 'free for all' due to people not paying for parking at the site.

How much will the fines be for illegal parking?

Councillor Tom Marshall told the News that the the decriminalisation is set to come into force and will come as a shock to some people as councillors have agreed that those who breaking parking regulations will be fined £100,but said that there would be a bedding in process for several weeks before the rules fully come into force.

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch said: "If decriminalised parking is to be successful it needs to be sympathetic to each town and the likes of Largs needs additional measures such as new car parks to direct drivers to available spaces in future.

"The short stay parking of one hour and no return is greatly needed in our town centre.

"It is about managing the town centre the best way so that traffic is turned around quickly and people can nip in for an hour to go to spend with local businesses."

Why has it not been implemented before now - with Largs in its busy summer period?

It has proven to be a lengthy process.

Before formally applying for decriminalised parking enforcemnt powers, a local authority has to consult with key stakeholders, including neighbouring authorities and Police Scotland.

Transport Scotland also encourages any local authority interested to engage directly with Transport Scotland at the earliest opportunity, to help streamline the application process as far as possible. Applications are then submitted to Transport Scotland, who will assess the application on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

The decriminalisation plans have been held back repeatedly over recent years, with Covid being the biggest challenge, followed by elections, slowing down the process.

The length of time between Transport Scotland receiving the application and the matter coming into force depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the application, the level of readiness of the local authority, its level of engagement throughout the application process and parliamentary recess dates.

Transport Scotland is continually exploring ways to condense the timescale by sharing best practice and working with local authorities at an early stage to help ensure that robust applications are submitted in the first instance.

What is Transport Scotland’s role?

Transport Scotland assesses DPE applications on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Provided that Ministers are content, Scottish Statutory instruments are then drafted which will decriminalise parking offences and allow the local authority to take over enforcement from the police.

What happened to the Park and Ride plans for Largs?

A former business group attempted to build a park and ride facility in an available field close to Largs Yacht Haven in 2015 but the move was hit by red tape. Hopes of a park and ride scheme for Largs are dead - after a study found it would cost between £300,000 and £430,000 to develop any site capable of hosting the travel project.