A NORTH Ayrshire councillor has told a public meeting in Largs that he believes the authority's new traffic wardens "prefer coming to the town" - because they get less hassle.

North Coast Conservative councillor Tom Marshall told members of Largs Community Council (LCC) that he believed the restrictions introduced across North Ayrshire earlier this year had been a success - despite fierce opposition from some Largs business owners.

A one-hour limit on parking on designated streets in Largs and across North Ayrshire was introduced, along with a variety of other restrictions, at the end of March, under a new regime of 'decriminalised parking enforcement', which saw the power to enforce parking infringements pass from Police Scotland to North Ayrshire Council.

Councillor Marshall told LCC's members: ""Decriminalised parking has been quite a success and has solved a lot of problems in the town in terms of finding a parking space.

"There have been 500 penalty charges issued, with 218 penalties paid so far,  and the grand sum of £11,000 was brought in over the first fortnight of the measures, the last two weeks of April.

"Any feedback I have received so far has been good.

"I have spoken to the wardens, who seem quite happy coming to Largs, which they find a bit more civilised. They don't get quite as much hassle as they do in other areas."

Community council chairman Jim Phillips asked whether excess funds raised under the new regime would be re-directed to improve parking facilities.

North Coast councillor Alan Hill, a member of the minority SNP administration which holds power at North Ayrshire, said this was not the case, and that revenue would go into the council's general account.

Cllr Marshall also pointed out that the income was put towards paying for the six wardens who work across North Ayrshire.

The News recently reported the view of businessman Les Ward that the new restrictions were "one of the worst things to have happened in the town" in his 40 years of trading.

Mr Ward claimed visitors to the town had told him they wouldn't be back after being hit with a ticket for breaking the rules - and said he and other business owners believed the one-hour limit was far too short.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “The one hour waiting time is considered suitable for the needs of most drivers visiting Largs town centre.

"For those requiring longer, there are a number of parking options nearby, including short and long stay car parks, and non-time limited on-street parking.

“We would encourage people to visit the council website at www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/parking which contains a list of our available car parks.

“We are encouraged by the feedback we have received since the introduction of parking enforcement and will continue to monitor how the new service is progressing.”