A BUSY Stevenston car park will close next week, its owner has confirmed.

Late last year we reported how Ken Johnstone of Europe and Jersey, owners of the car park near to New Street (pictured), had decided that they would be closing the free space off to the public after what he believes is North Ayrshire Council acting in ‘bad faith’ surrounding an agreement signed nearly 20 years ago.

The car park, situated behind the Beattie Library, is a busy spot in the town and its closure on February 14 will be a burden on the town with parking facilities already low.

Ken told the Herald: “I have never been spoken to by anyone at North Ayrshire Council apart from the Estates Department. Europe and Jersey have spent a lot of unnecessary money since the year 2000 and we can no longer afford to do so.

“This is because North Ayrshire Council acted in bad faith.

“There are seven days to go and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by the closure of the car park.”

Local councillor Davina McTiernan said: “Much as I would like the car park in question to be retained for the convenience of my constitutes, it is privately-owned and as such its upkeep and maintenance are not the responsibility of the local authority.

“Nor is it within the Council’s gift to either close it or keep it open. These matters are the responsibility of its owners.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “It is normal practice, as part of the planning process, for new commercial developments to provide appropriate parking to serve their development.

“Europe and Jersey Estates Ltd freely signed an agreement in 2000 which provided for such car parking for their development.

“There is nothing in this agreement which obliges the council to assume liability for this private car park.”

They added: “The agreement does contain an option for the council to enter into a licence arrangement to allow for the management of the car park however, due to the challenging financial climate, we will not be taking this up.”