CONTROVERSIAL plans to install roller shutters blocking access to a popular shopping area in Ayr have attracted a storm of protest from the public.

The Wood Property Group has submitted a planning application to South Ayrshire Council for the aluminium shutters at both ends of the Lorne Arcade, between High Street and Arthur Street.

The application says the gates would be closed and the shutter brought down between 6pm and 8am.

The Wood Property Group, which owns the arcade, says there is no right of way for the public through the area, and says the move is to combat mess and anti-social behaviour. 

But as this article was published, 89 objections to the application had been lodged with the council.

Most are from individual members of the public, though included in the number are objections from staff at the nearby branch of Santander and from the owners of the Arthur Street Kitchen and Ayr 8 Ball Pool Club in Arthur Street.

In their objection a spokesperson for the Arthur Street Kitchen warns: "If this is accepted by South Ayrshire Council it could result in businesses along Arthur Street closing within months.

"This is the main route for customers from parking and High Street to our venues.

"This would kill Arthur Street."

Ayr Advertiser: The Arthur Street entrance to the Lorne Arcade.The Arthur Street entrance to the Lorne Arcade. (Image: Google Street View)

The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society (ScotWays) has also objected.

Scotways says in its objection: "The absence of any record of such a right does not preclude its existence, since a right of way may be acquired by prescription at any juncture.

"From information provided by local residents, ScotWays is aware the route through the Arcade has been well used by the general public as a convenient short cut between Arthur Street and the High Street for at least 60 years."

There is also a single expression of support, from Mr Kahraman Canturk, the owner of Forum Phones, which trades from one of the units in the Lorne Arcade.

Mr Canturk says: "We are in support of the application to install security shutters and believe this will help protect our business and reduce the anti social behaviour within the arcade.

"We are constantly having to clean up litter, dog mess, vomit and other substances from the front of our shop.

"People use the arcade as a toilet when shops are closed. We have had our door smashed in the past and have had to call the police due to people in the arcade at night."

A Wood Group spokesperson said: “The access is not public and there is no asserted right of way through the arcade building, nor is it provided for in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.

“The levels of mess, dog fouling, vagrancy and general anti social behaviour later at night is now at unacceptable levels, and as such, protecting the property and shops is a key priority.

“Access from Carrick Street and Newmarket Street remains available 24/7.

“If it was public, then of course the responsibility and costs for the cleaning, lighting and CCTV would be down to South Ayrshire Council, but that is not the case."

The full planning application and public comments can be found on South Ayrshire Council's planning portal.