South Ayrshire Council could carry out a second car parking consultation after admitting the first – undertaken in the summer of 2021 – wasn’t up to scratch.

Councillors will be told that officials want to abandon key elements of the original proposals following negative feedback during the original consultation, which received responses from around 1200 people.

This includes dropping plans to extend charging into the council’s free car parks and the conversion of limited waiting bays to pay and display in Mill Street, Smith Street and Garden Street.

Instead the proposals will seek to increase the maximum length of waiting in those streets to three hours, when they come before Cabinet next week.

It also recommends simplifying the charging periods across the town. Officials are set to consider a proposal for two hours of free parking from 9am to 11am.

Further plans to introduce charging along the esplanade have also been abandoned.

However, the potential introduction of pay and display at limited waiting bays around Ayr County Buildings will be taken forward in tandem with a broader permit scheme for residents.

The parking consultation was put on hold for more than a year, with the results of the consultation subsequently re-evaluated.

The report to Cabinet outlines some of the issues that have led to a second consultation.

But it also infers that some the responses to the consultation were partly a result of the way the questions were presented, rather than the proposals themselves.

It said: “The various issues highlighted within each part of the consultation were clearly addressed within the Parking Strategy but perhaps they weren’t adequately conveyed within the consultation pages.

“The questions posed may also have been too general or technical in their wording and the fact that there was no provision for consultees to submit their views within a free text box may have been counterproductive.

“There were further issues with the quality of the mapping made available to review the proposals which we seek to address within the second phase consultation.

“Having reviewed the responses and also feedback received independently of the consultation there is a clear resistance towards parking charges which are viewed as regressive or anti-business.”

Nine questions were put to consultees, largely seeking an opinion on individual elements being proposed.

In responding it was clear that a number of the proposals had little backing.

This included almost 65 per cent of responses disagreeing with reducing the parking time limit in Mill Street, Smith Street and Garden Street, almost 80 percent disagreeing that parking charges would ensure appropriate use of spaces and 85 per cent being against the view that charges would help to ‘monitor’ use.

However, almost 70 per cent agreed that a new permit system should be introduced to make it easier for the likes of tradespeople and carers to operate.

Questions relating to the removal of resident’s only exclusivity in some streets, replacing it with a permit scheme along with proposals to simplify the charging periods across the town were more balanced.

The report to Cabinet states that the results show ‘resistance’ to new parking charges and that the community doesn’t accept the argument made that limited waiting parking is susceptible to abuse and is more expensive.

It continued that it was important to ensure parking turnover would benefit businesses.

It added: “People can and do pay for the convenience of being able to park as close as possible to their chosen destination.

“Proposals were put forward for an integrated approach to parking along the seafront and adjacent streets which were designed to better manage the facilities on offer.

“These proposals attracted a lot of attention from consultees and the responses received were overwhelmingly against the proposals.”

Councillors will decide whether to accept the findings of the original survey and launch a second one when they meet on Tuesday, January 17.