A CAMPAIGN to curb the introduction of car parking charges in Alloa is onto its final push this week.

Traders in the town centre are collecting signatures to formally oppose the move, which has been proposed by council officers to help offset the public service cuts in the upcoming budget.

However, the businesses, led by Alloa Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), argue the plans would do more harm than good.

The petition will be submitted to councillors at the end of the consultation period this Friday, February 2, with the BID encouraging shoppers to sign within the next two days.

Joanne Calder, of Morgan's Hairdressing, was one of the traders keen to get involved with the petition, spreading the word, posters and sheets for signatures.

She told the Advertiser: “I've got 13 members of staff in the salon who are all working mums and already pay childcare.

“And then they are going to be punished for working in the town – that's non-affordable, it's just ridiculous.”

Morgan's has been around for more than 20 years, with Joanne adding: “We don't have big businesses in the town centre, it's all small traders and we just feel people who are working are being punished for the mistakes the council had made.”

She fears customers could be turned off with charges coming in.

Joanne continued: “Our clients come from all over – we've got clients from Edinburgh, clients from the Kinross area and they'll just think it's an extra expense for them.

“We'll definitely lose clientele.”

Michelle Hunter, from Dunbar the Jeweller, is worried that shops could close down as a result, with Alloa becoming a “ghost town”.

She said: “It's definitely going to affect trade – it's a wee town as it is.”

According to the BID, more than 100 businesses joined forces to drive the petition forward and keep parking spaces free for customers as well as employees.

While the final figures are not known yet, one trader reportedly hit more than 300 names as of last Friday.

According to the council's consultation paper on the proposed budget cuts, around £10million worth of savings will need to be found, whlie charging for parking in the town centre could generate around £500,000 next year.

A spokesperson for the council previously told the Advertiser: “Feedback on the officers budget proposals will be reported to councillors who will make the budget decisions.”