Kilwinning grocer and florist Dino and Sons has expressed “urgent legitimate concern” that they might have to face closure due to new parking changes.

Removing direct disabled access to Main Street has resulted in a loss of footfall, leaving the shop owners worried that North Ayrshire’s implementation of parking charges next year could be the final nail in the coffin.

In a Facebook post, a representative from the shop said: “It's not long ago we were applauded by our local MP's and councillors for going above and beyond providing the three towns and further with groceries when the pandemic panic started.

“The family had a previous shop in Dockhead Street which was forced to close as a direct result of the council removing disabled parking in the high street and converting the closest car park to disabled car parking only.”

“We have lost enough customers that won't come back, add that to more loss of customers as a direct impact from parking charges, we fear it will be too much for the shop to bare.”

The post mentioned conversing with the council and Councillor Joe Cullinane about the closure of disabled access in Kilwinning.

Commenting on the post, Councillor Cullinane said: “We did indeed meet about the Main Street closure, but it was after the community council had carried out their survey and the locality partnership had agreed the closure.

“Since the original budget decision, taken after the budget consultation that year, we've had a global pandemic and now rising costs - it seems crazy to me that it was announced over the summer recess that the charges were just going to be implemented with no review.

“Part of our ask was that high street businesses be contacted by the council to ask how things have impacted you, but the motion was voted down.”

Responding to the concerns in a statement to the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, North Ayrshire Council said they meet with residents to discuss options.

The statement said: “It was agreed that a proposal be brought to Cabinet to reconsider the level of charges proposed in the budget which was agreed earlier this year.

“The proposal to introduce a fee will affect only about one-fifth of the Council’s car parks and aims to ensure a regular turnover of visitors, making it easier for people to find a space, which will hopefully be good for business.

“It is important to stress that although car park charges are common in most areas across Scotland, roughly 80 per cent of our car parks will remain free of charge, including all of our long-stay car parks.”

Responding to the issues raised by Dino and Sons, Councillor Scott Davidson stated that the traffic restrictions on Kilwinning's Main Street were implemented due to community concerns.

Councillor Davidson said: "Parking in disabled bays will remain free of charge for blue badge holders, however, anyone abusing the disabled parking bays will be issued with a fixed penalty charge (PCN).

"The introduction of DPE and parking charges should improve the regulation of traffic in our town centres, by directing long stay patrons to free parking slightly further out whilst providing chargeable short stay parking close to retail and other town centre services.

"Currently, most spaces in these car parks are occupied by workers meaning it is difficult for visitors and shoppers to find a space to park, thereby discouraging them from coming to the town centre."