A DECISION on whether parking charges will be introduced at the Gateside Street car park in Largs will be made next month. 

Community campaigners such as John O Connor have told the News that they are against the move during a cost of living crisis as elected members consider three options - with one to scrap the proposal altogether.

A report to go before councillors warns that additional savings would need to be made elsewhere to address any deficit if decision is taken to abandon the plan to charge at all council-run facilities - at an estimated cost of almost £600,000 across the district.

In March 2022, the local authority approved tariffs of £1.50 for one hour, £2 for two hours and £3.50 for four hours for 10 short-stay car parks. But it was later agreed to reconsider the level of charges proposed “in light of the deepening financial crisis”.

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall says that all options will be properly debated and considered.

He added: "One of the options is to retain the charges, and one of the other options is to give the first hour free which might be a better move and it means it will let people park for an hour and then top up.

"The third option is to have no parking charges at all."

Gateside has been a free facility for many years, but as of 2023, drivers will be asked to fork out, with a tariff to be set at this week's council Cabinet meeting.

Mr O'Connor, pictured, said: "There are a lot of retired people who live here, where are they going to put their cars?

"That car park is also used by shopworkers. They rely on it, and above all of that, it is a ridiculous time to be introducing charges amid a cost of living crisis."

The decision to move ahead with looking at asking people to pay was taken at a meeting of full council in September 2019.

The project was given lower priority while dealing with Covid-19 but is now back on the table.

The council will also soon be taking over parking enforcement duties from the police – known as Decriminalisation of Parking Enforcement (DPE) - meaning parking attendants will be employed to enforce on-street and off-street parking violations

Seven new jobs, including six parking attendants, are expected to be created by the move - and it is anticipated that around £300,000 per year extra will be added to the council's coffers through enforcement action.