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Council set to close car parks to discourage people coming to tourist hotspots

Posted on 3 Apr 2020

NORTH Ayrshire Council is closing a number of its car parks to deter those people who continue to visit some of our most popular destinations.

Despite clear guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments that people are to take exercise close to their homes and are to engage in only essential travel– some continue to ignore this, putting others at risk, and are driving to busy locations for their walk, run or cycle. This appears to include people driving here from outwith the area.

The Council has therefore taken the decision to close the car parks at our most popular tourist locations to discourage non-essential travel. The facilities themselves remain open for local people to walk to and around while practising safe social distancing measures.

Town centre car parks – such as those in Saltcoats and Irvine – will remain open for key workers and those going about essential business.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We have been speaking with our partners at Police Scotland and it is clear that people are still driving to Ayrshire from all across the country to enjoy our scenic views as part of their daily exercise.

“This was perhaps a grey area previously but not now. The guidance is pretty clear and all exercise should be taken as close to your home as possible and it certainly should not involve jumping in a car and driving miles to tourist hotspots. 

 “You may think that a drive and visit to your favourite place will do no harm but it is the cumulative impact. We all need to keep apart just now and we would hope that people start to listen and respect this.

“While we would encourage people to continue to exercise and go outside, this should be done near home, and in a safe manner which restricts the possibility of close contact with others.

 “This has not been an easy decision but it is a public health decision aimed at keeping us all safe. We said last week we would keep the use of these car parks under review but the feedback from Police Scotland of people travelling from far and wide is simply too worrying to ignore. We will keep these car park closures under constant review, with a view to re-opening car parks as soon as it is safe to do so”

The Council has already closed all play parks to prevent parents and children touching the same play equipment, as part of the effort to reduce the possibility of transmission of Coronavirus.

 They have also closed Largs seafront car park and all public toilets which remain under Council ownership.

 The car parks to close are as follows:

Pilot House Car Park, Irvine

Beach Drive, Irvine x 2

Car park adjacent to Foulartoun Arches

Old Magnum Car Park, Irvine

Car Park off Marine Drive, Irvine

Eglinton Park, Kilwinning x 2

Stevenston Point Car Park, Stevenston

Car Park at access to the Dunes, Stevenston (Access point at football park/playpark)

The Turf Car Park, Saltcoats

The Braes Car Park, Saltcoats

North Shore, off A78 Ardrossan x 2

Portencross Car Park

Main Road Car Park access road, Fairlie

Pier Road, Fairlie

Bowencraig Car Park East – Largs Marina

Bowencraig Car Park West – Largs Marina

A760 Picnic Site (Haylie Brae) - Largs

Vikingar Car Park, Largs