A PLEA has been made for car parking restrictions imposed in Greenock to be overturned in a bid to help save the town centre.

SNP group leader Councillor Elizabeth Robertson is calling for wide-ranging changes, including scrapping daily charges.

She believes this will help bring shoppers back after lockdown.

Concerns have been growing about the future of the town centre due to a string of shop closures in recent years, the success of the Port Retail Park and a steep decline in footfall.

These problems have now been compounded by the pandemic.

Together with her colleague Chris Curley, Cllr Robertson says Greenock is now at a disadvantage following the removal of rules elsewhere, such as the recent scrapping of the disc display system in Gourock.

Councillor Robertson said: "I place such a high importance on the regeneration of Greenock town centre, which has for too long been allowed to falter while development occurs elsewhere.

"Car parking is a challenge that we can fix.

"We need to give people a reason to visit Greenock town centre for shopping, leisure, learning and culture and to make it a welcoming and easier place to get around. ”

The local authority's environment and regeneration committee recently agreed to introduce free parking for the first three hours in the new facility being created in Jamaica Street and Ms Robertson says this is a good start.

She told the Tele: “It is great to see a proposal for the new car park in Jamaica Street to be free for the first three hours.

"However, given the proposed changes for the council-owned car parks in Port Glasgow and Gourock, the £2 charge in the Greenock car parks should also be reviewed to try to encourage more people to use the town centre during the week.”

Cllr Curley, who sits on the environment and regeneration body, put forward a number of proposals for a revamp of the rules.

He said: "At the committee meeting last March we were able to get agreement for a review of car parking in all car parks in Greenock, with a view to introducing free parking for a period of time.

"However, this review has not been progressed due to Covid-19.

"We again raised the issue at the most recent meeting of the committee, to ensure that barriers to using Greenock town centre are reduced given the importance of recovery following the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, that bid was unacceptable but we welcome the renewed commitment given to review car parking charges in Greenock.”