Cumnock's first 'pay and display' car park system has been installed at the town's Visions Leisure Centre.

The step has been taken after the centre's car park barrier was removed following damage.

According to the Visions team, following the removal of the barrier, the centre's car park, which was to be used only by Visions members, saw an increase in cars using it as a drop-off point for children at the Barony Campus.

Drivers now face a £100 fine if they are caught using the car park without a membership for the leisure centre.

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Visions members can apply to have one vehicle registration attached to their membership to allow them to use the car park free of charge.

Payments for use of the car park will go towards the Visions team's efforts to repair the access road to the venue.

Explaining the decision, Kaye Hannah, chairperson of Cumnock and District Leisure Group, said:  "You will have noticed our barrier has not been operational for a few weeks due to being vandalised.  We can report this damage was not by a child, but an adult.

"As a result, we have monitored the parking activity within our car park and unfortunately,  have witnessed a very high percentage of drivers not using our centre, but to pick up and drop off children attending the Barony Campus.

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"Drivers are aware our car park is not a designated parking area for the school. Therefore we are disappointed - and unfortunately due to these offenders, have had no option but to take a fairer approach to protect our staff and members."

Kaye added: "Creative Car Park Ltd has been appointed to install a new digital parking system, monitored by CCTV.

"Due to many cars turning on the pedestrian crossing before entering the barrier, our road needs attention and tarmac replaced. 

"This new arrangement will protect our customers and generate an additional income to repair and maintain our road.

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"Our members and customers should begin speaking to Reception staff now, by providing one registration number per membership.  This will allow you to park free of charge whilst using the Centre. 

"If you are not attending Visions for any activity, you must pay like any other user or will receive a £100 fine. 

"Customers and members will only be protected from this charge whilst in Visions as the system is linked to your booking.

"The onus is now on you to register a vehicle to your membership as Creative Car Parks Ltd administer fines to non-registered vehicles, not us."

The move comes less than a month after the Visions team approached East Ayrshire Council for financial help, admitting they were struggling to cope with the rising costs involved in running the facility.