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Former Ayrshire MP Sir Brian Donohoe blasts 'total folly' of North Ayrshire Council parking charges plan as he backs campaigners

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Former Ayrshire MP Sir Brian Donohoe has branded plans to introduce car parking charges in North Ayrshire as "total folly." The retired politician this week spoke out to throw his weight behind a campaign to save free parking in Irvine, Kilwinning, Saltcoats and Largs.He reckons implementing parking charges would be a commercial disaster for the local economy, particularly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and is calling on North Ayrshire Council to think again.Sir Brian, a long-term critic of car parking fees in the area, fought against such proposals with each of the council’s three chief executives during his 23 years at Westminster.The former Central Ayrshire MP says that since his election to Parliament in 1992 he has seen at first hand the damage caused by parking charges in towns and cities across the UK - not least on his own patch.“You don’t even need to look that far,” said Brian, who lives in Irvine. “The problems faced in Ayr and Kilmarnock since parking charges were introduced are well-documented.

Both these towns have suffered a hammer blow to their shopping centres. "It’s no surprise that South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire councils have cancelled car parking charges this Christmas."They know very well that motorists will go elsewhere when an extended drive to the likes of Silverburn and Braehead is rewarded with greater choice and free parking.”Three petitions protesting against the controversial proposals will go before council chiefs in January.Sir Brian recalled how he had met leaders of the local authority on several occasions in the past in an effort to convince them of the “total folly” of hitting motorists with car park charges.“The consequences for these town centres in the long run were

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