PLANS to impose new parking charges have caused alarm with residents claiming it will deter visitors coming to the towns.

As part of the agreement of the ‘Balancing the Budget Consultation’, South Ayrshire Council are now considering a “range of options” for the introduction of charges to car parks in Troon, Prestwick and Ayr, with the proposed levy of £1, alongside the potential for an alternative of a £2 daily charge.

And once agreed, charges will be introduced later this year at the three main car parks on Troon Seafront, Bellevue car park in Prestwick and Blackburn Road Ayr,

But Troon residents and shop owners have hit back, demanding that this would be detrimental for the town.

Speaking at Troon Community Council (TCC), Cathy Morrison from Ivy Cottage, said: “At the moment we have petitions around the shops and businesses in Troon – they are around 700 signatures from just a week.This is not going to do Troon any good – we already have 12 empty shops and three empty banks. People aren’t going to come to Troon to pay for parking.

"There is not a one shop owner that wants this. We do not want a small town like Troon to die on its feet.”

Cllr Convery, explained: “If you think of the time scale, it would hit right through the summer and the town at the moment is suffering – my concern as a former shop owner is that we just can’t afford [it]. It isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t want anything to do with it – I am already getting pelters because they don’t believe me.”

Chairwoman Helen Duff of TCC called the changes “ridiculous” explaining that visitors won’t come and pay to go to the beach to then “have to pay 40p to use the toilet”.

Troon Community Councillor Frances Carson took the opposite view.

She said: “Without being disrespectful, I am a car owner and if I can afford to put a car on the road then I can afford to pay to park – I would rather the council made savings on my car having to park rather than take the money from something like education so I don’t have a problem and I think you are trying to find a really good solution to a hard problem.”

Cllr Saxton, added: “If you go anywhere that has a seaside town, you normally have to pay, and I think £2 a day is quite reasonable to save other things. That was the consultation result.”