Hundreds of business owners and residents have shared passionate views on the future of Largs town centre following a spate of shop closures.

The high cost of business rates as well as the need for better signage and publicity were all highlighted during the discussion at Clark Memorial Church last Thursday. 

Questions and concerns were put to panel members, including ward councillors Eleanor Collier, Ian Murdoch, Todd Ferguson and Tom Marshall, and West Scotland MSP Katy Clark.

Heather Meldrum, who organised the event, said: "Largs doesn't belong to the councillors or the big chains. It belongs to us.

"We are not going to be spectators in this decline. We will initiate something that is going to happen. 

"You would have to be blind to walk around Largs to not see it is struggling. It is really important that we do something about that."

Business concerns

A number of issues were raised in the meeting including high business rates, the need for more signage for shops outwith the main thoroughfare, accessibility of grant funding, and better support for businesses from locals.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Business owners and residents raised their concerns in the public meetingBusiness owners and residents raised their concerns in the public meeting (Image: Newsquest)

Sandra McGuire, of Thru Decades Upcycled, said: "Tourists who come through may not see our streets. We can't just rely on the people of Largs coming to our shops.

"I would like to see a way of showing that there are all these nice independent shops at the back of Largs."

Craig Campbell, the owner of PiercedBody, added: "We are talking about bringing people in, but it is local people we need too.

"I am on the main street and people don't know I am there. I have been there for four years. 

"The businesses need to come together to do this. The councillors shouldn't be doing anything.

"They are not going to give us anything. We need to be getting our locals involved in the harder months."

The panel members were given a chance to address each concern highlighted throughout the meeting.

READ MORE: Recent high street closures described as 'hammer blow' to Largs

Councillor Murdoch said: "I have been pursuing lately some new sign boards for the town.

"Largs Community Council have commissioned a new map of the town and we are trying to find somewhere to site it. 

"Not all of these things happen through the council. One of the things is that you would automatically think that Tron Place is council-owned, however, Amey are responsible for most of the island at Tron Place.

"If you want to put a sign board there you have to ask Amey. Everything isn't as simple as you think it is."

READ NEXT: Another blow to Largs shopping scene as business shuts after almost 30 years

A member of the Largs Community Council also raised the adversity from councillors when bringing ideas and proposals forward in their monthly meetings.

They said: "In a lot of these schemes councillors may agree on, but they cannot work together to get Largs better.

"I would urge you all to please because you are all so different, but you let us down, when you can't just say 'let's work for the greater good'.


A few ideas on ways to improve the town centre were suggested from loyalty programmes to increase residents' use of independent businesses, a discussion on how the Common Good Fund from North Ayrshire Council can be used to benefit the town centre and an online forum to market businesses better.

Not all 'doom and gloom'

However, despite the concerns from business owners, councillors stated that Largs town centre is not all doom and gloom.

Katy Clark MSP said: "It is not about doom and gloom. It is about saying things could be a lot better and I think we have got to focus on some campaigns.

"It is how we use our voices collectively to use all the forums we have avenues too."

Councillor Collier added: "There are some really good ideas here. It is telling people and shouting about what is here.

"The business owners have to get involved to make that happen. We need involvement and commitment from everybody.

"We all need to get on one page and support."