A PETITION has been started in Alloa to knock down proposals to introduce car parking charges in the town.

The council is investigating, among other savings options, the prospect of removing the car parking “subsidy” in town – and putting an end to free spaces.

If approved, the move could generate around £500,000 next year to off-set the upcoming cuts, but the idea has been opposed by local traders.

Signatures are now being collected after a call came from Alloa Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID).

Its members fear their businesses, which are already squeezed financially, could lose customers as charges would divert shoppers away from the area.

The BID's Lorraine Douglas told the Advertiser: “We strongly urge the councillors of Clackmannanshire Council to listen to their constituents and vote against any form of parking charges in Alloa's car parks.”

She explained free parking is Alloa's unique selling point, without which many would choose to travel and shop elsewhere or park in neighbouring residential areas instead.

BID members insist free car parking can bring more businesses into Alloa and argue that employers and staff will find it hard to afford daily charges themselves.

Lorraine added: “We are asking everyone to sign our petition, which you can find within local businesses within Alloa town centre.

“This will be presented to local councillors before the deadline for responses on February 2.”

Members of the public had also been in touch with the BID regarding the issue since the cuts were first highlighted.

One Stirling shopper reportedly said she regularly comes to Alloa as it has a few little shops the city lacks and that free parking is a big draw.

Another feared Alloa would turn into a “ghost town” while someone else highlighted there are not enough spaces in Kilncraigs for employees, adding: “Who can afford to pay to park to go to work every day?”

The proposed charges are among the many different options available to councillors who will have to set a balanced budget against a backdrop of financial hardship.

However, officials stress that no decisions have been taken with a major public consultation effort still underway.

A spokeswoman for Clackmannanshire Council explained: “Feedback on the officers' budget proposals will be reported to councillors who will make the budget decisions.”

For more information, visit the Alloa BID's Facebook Page or speak with traders in the town to sign the petition.