AN AYR couple who started a petition slamming the new Ayr leisure centre say the community is fed up with having the ‘wool pulled over their eyes’.

John Ferguson was encouraged to create the petition – which has almost 1,600 signatures – by wife Valerie, a regular Citadel user.

While the couple had no target in mind when they posted the petition, they are now confident that the number of people signing it will outstrip the 2,601 responses the council received during its consultation.

John said: “I had used before, so I decided to give it a go and see what happens. I have been pleasantly surprised by the support it has had. Let’s see if it makes any difference.”

Valerie regularly goes to classes like yoga and pilates, while John was a gym goer, some of the facilities less affected by the new plans.

For John, the issue is one of spending a large amount of money on a lesser facility.

He said: “I just think they are barking up the wrong tree with what they are doing. I don’t think they are trying to improve what they already have.

“My personal take is that it is ludicrous amount of money to be spending when we could do up what we have got for a fraction of the cost. We are going down a slippery slope with Ayr Town Centre.

Valerie said: “The petition gives us an idea of how the community feels, having had the wool pulled over their eyes so many times. Now to have these figures shows that the community is altogether getting a bit fed up.”

The council hadn’t learned any lessons, Valerie added, pointing to issues with a similar town centre leisure complex in Irvine.

“I was speaking to a girl from Irvine who said that it had been an absolute disaster. There is nowhere to park. You would think they would learn from that, but our council doesn’t learn from anything.”

She added, partly tongue-in-cheek: “I think were are ready to lead a revolution!”

If the petition is submitted to South Ayrshire Council it will be subject to the council’s petition procedure, going before the chair of the Partnership Panel, Conservative Councillor Hugh Hunter and Head of Regulatory Services Catriona Caves.

The petition is at