THE multi-storey car park on the Esplanade in Kirkcaldy is offering free parking on weekdays after 3.00 p.m.
Kirkcaldy4All has agreed a ‘Free After Three’ deal with Fife Council’s transportation service for this week and next, Monday to Friday, as part of on-going efforts to attract more shoppers into the town centre.
Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All, said: “We’ve agreed a deal with the Council to open it up to shoppers after 3.00 p.m., so hopefully we’ll attract more people into the town centre to do their Christmas shopping.
“We don’t know what the demand will be like, but after 3.00 p.m. the kids are coming out of school, so it’s a chance for mums and dads to drop into town with the children on their way home.”
Car parking has long been an issue for many town centre shop owners who believe it discourages people from visiting the High Street and surrounding area, particularly when shoppers can park for free at the Central Retail Park on the edge of the town.
Bill said: “It’s one of the big gripes is that there’s free parking at the retail park but not in the town centre, so if Kirkcaldy4All can help is some way to encourage people to shop here then we’ve got to give it a try.
“I’m delighted Fife Council has agreed to work with us on this.
“We will use this initiative as a ‘guinea pig’ and monitor the use of the car park, and if it’s a success, it’s something we can go back and look at again.
Lot to offer
“We have a lot to offer in Kirkcaldy town centre, with major chain stores such as Debenhams and Marks & Spencer, jewellers, fashion and clothing stores, and specialist outlets, as well as places to eat and drink, with a choice of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and pubs.”
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Fife Council’s Kirkcaldy area committee and a member of the Kirkcaldy4All board, said the car park was the least used in town centre – and he acknowledged it wasn’t the nicest of buildings, describing it as “ugly”.
But he added that new lighting has been installed recently, and it had been repainted to freshen it up, and further efforts would be made to improve its appearance.
Cllr Crooks went on, “It’s brilliant Kirkcaldy4All has taken this forward with Fife Council’s transportation services to provide some free parking in the run up to Christmas,”
“This initiative will hopefully mean more shoppers on the High Street both from the local area and from further afield too.
“This is the latest example of how Kirkcaldy4All is working together with the council to bring benefits to the town following on from the installation of Christmas lights in the front of the Esplanade car park to give the car park a festive look.
“Many people will know that parking was one of the biggest issues raised at the Kirkcaldy Town Centre Summit in June and it has been discussed at length at the Kirkcaldy Ambitions group since then.
“This group is working together to bring projects like this initiative to revitalise our town and I hope this is the latest of many to come.”
Carroll Haxton, chairman of the Kirkcaldy4All board, added: “Parking is always a big issue in Kirkcaldy.
“In the run-up to Christmas, we hope this move will be welcomed and will encourage more people to come and see what the town centre has to offer, and that it will have a knock-on effect for businesses in the area.
“It shows we are listening to what the public want and listening to the retailers, and trying to increase footfall and increase business in the area.”