The perennial discussions about the lack of parking in Largs are with us once again but with a new twist this year - pave over Barrfields putting green, surely one of Largs' attractions for visitors. As usual, opinions are divided between businesses on one hand and residents on the other, with visitors stuck in limbo or more likely stuck in traffic jams and queues for parking. However, besides losing the amenity, Barrfields is too far from the town centre for visitors when the weather turns nasty. It is no fun fighting gales and horizontal rain to get from Barrfields to the town centre, so there would be little year round benefit for Largs residents.

This dilemma calls for radical thinking, so here are two suggestions which may be worthy of further study and consideration.

The first suggestion is to negotiate an agreement with Morrisons to convert their existing car park into a multi-storey car park with two or three levels, similar in design and construction to the steel park and ride facility adjacent to Shields Road subway in Glasgow, rather than a concrete design. This would be in the most central location possible and would utilise the existing Morrisons roundabout for vehicle access, with safe pedestrian access to the town centre and seafront using any of the existing routes via M&Co car park, footpath, station platform or footbridge to Gogo Street. It would also have year round benefits for Largs residents through provision of some park and ride spaces for rail travellers and covered parking for loading shopping on our frequent rainy days.

The second suggestion is even more radical and would consist of converting the railway cutting into a box tunnel between Charles Street and John Street. Car parking would be added on top and could be enlarged by removing some of the adjacent trees if needed. Access points would replace the existing railway bridges with entry from John St and exit on to Charles St and a one-way flow through the car park with herring-bone style parking bays to make parking easier and require less overall width. A pedestrian route to the town centre could be added with a set of steps leading to the Morrison car park and then as for the first suggestion, which would also benefit residents. Additional parking could be created in later years if needed by adding a similar box-tunnel between John St and May St.

Obviously both would be more costly than converting Barrfields, but either would provide an additional asset for the town rather than replacing one of the few visitor amenities.

Alan Wyllie