A Conservative councillor believes more support is needed for small local businesses after a number of closures in Largs over recent months.

Several businesses have also shared concerns with the News about the challenges faced by high street retailers and hospitality owners.

One local business source told the News: "I am aware of at least two others in town who are considering shutting up for good. 

"The concern is that without more business support from the government, the position is very bleak indeed."

A motion calling for North Ayrshire Council to write a letter to the First Minister asking for a rates relief scheme to be restarted for the new financial year was supported by all sides at last month's council meeting.

Councillor Tom Marshall, who lodged the motion, has described the recent closure of three local businesses - Buena Onda, Cafe Renard, and Jenny's Wardrobe - as a "hammer blow" to the town.

Meanwhile, the large M&Co store is still lying vacant after it closed last April.

Councillor Marshall said: "The prices businesses are having to pay for rental and rates are horrendous. 

"I think a lot of the rent for businesses is excruciatingly high and it is putting pressure on a lot of businesses.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Tom Marshall raised motion at council meeting seeking business rates reliefCllr Tom Marshall raised motion at council meeting seeking business rates relief (Image: North Ayrshire Conservatives)"A lot of restaurants have been closing down south, and some have even offered 40% off meals to get cash flowing and people in the door. 

"It is now costing coffee shops £1,000 a week in rates demands, and then you have to pay wages to staff, with the minimum wage set at £11.

"Then when you take on board national insurance and holiday pay, I know one cafe in town is having to pay £15 an hour in wages, and that is coming out of the owner's profits.

"It is a tough situation on the high street but I fear that national and local government neither know nor care.

"It is hardly a surprise that people are short of cash as so many have to contend with utility bills, council tax, etc.

"There are lots of vacant properties in town centres around Scotland, and it is now starting to go that way in Largs."

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch added: "It is very sad to see the business closures in Largs town centre with the old Glens electrical shop (Jenny's Wardrobe) empty again, and the loss of Cafe Renard and Buena Onda. 

"They are all in good positions and I'd be hopeful that they won't be empty for long.

"Largs has a high volume of day-trippers who visit the area and although it is not a rosy economic climate, it is difficult for everybody at the moment and things are very tight.

"But at least with the big numbers that come to Largs you stand a fighting chance, and with the promenade and surroundings we have, Largs is always a popular place to visit.

"Things might not be great economically but one thing you are guaranteed to have when you come to Largs is to be welcomed with open arms by local businesses, and the opportunity to enjoy the promenade.

"Its great location on the Clyde Coast always makes it a popular destination for hoards of visitors."