INVERCLYDE drivers could see the provision of free car parking vanish as proposals to introduce charges at these town centre facilities emerge.

Councillors have been recommended to approve proposals to start charging at these car parks in a bid to increase turnover, improve access to town centre businesses, support the economy and reduce frustration for visitors.

If approved the new policy would effectively deter long stay parking close to town centres and free up space for short stay parking, helping customers while being economically more advantageous.

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Kempock Street East and Kempock Street West in Gourock, Shore Street, Fore Street and Princes Street in Port Glasgow and Lochwinnoch Road in Kilmacolm are included in these proposals and have been identified as being in close walking distance to their town centre.

A total of 553 parking spaces including 33 disabled parking spaces are located at these sites. Vehicles will be allowed to park for up to three hours free of charge which will increase to £2 per day if vehicles wish to park for longer than this.

Where car parks are in residential areas and residents have no other parking available they will be able to apply for a resident’s permit.

These are currently free and allow the holder to park for longer than the time restrictions and free of charge in charged car parks.

A public consultation on these plans will be carried out in September with the installation of meters and signs expected by March 2020. Car parking charges will then launch on April 2020.

Councillors are expected to approve the reports at the environment and regeneration committee next Thursday.