Parking charge increase ‘will drive away shoppers‘

Traders claim parking charges will impact on town centre prosperity
Traders claim parking charges will impact on town centre prosperity

Traders claim Fife Council displayed a “shocking disregard” for St Andrews businesses by increasing parking charges this week.

The 10 per cent hike, which came into effect on Monday, will increase the charge from £1 an hour to £1.10 - a move Fife Council claims will help reduce its £91m deficit over the next three years.

Lindsey Adam, president of St Andrews Merchants' Association

Lindsey Adam, president of St Andrews Merchants' Association

But St Andrews Merchants’ Association wrote to Steve Grimmond, chief executive to protest it will only frustrate customers and drive away business.

Lindsey Adams, president, said: “It was our understanding that in consultation with BID St Andrews a review of parking charges was taking place and submissions had been made to Fife Council in this regard.

“We are aware no feedback has been provided in relation to the submissions, which have subsequently been ignored. This demonstrates a shocking disregard toward the St Andrews business community.

She continued: “The current charge of £1 is both reasonable and convenient for consumers, however, having to find more change to feed parking meters will only serve to frustrate consumers and drive them away from supporting local businesses.

“Furthermore, such an increase will lead to parking meters becoming full in half the time and if they are not emptied timeously they will become out of order very quickly.”

The association maintain the council is prohibited from using parking charges to generate revenues and the move contradicts Government commitment to supporting town centres and giving locals a chance to demand a parking review.

Ms Adams added: “We note any increase in parking charges in Kirkcaldy has been frozen until next March and this simply highlights the attitude of the Council toward businesses in St Andrews, which are clearly perceived as wealthy and not in need of support and assistance. This is most certainly not the case.”

Cllr Pat Callaghan, spokesman for Environment and Transportation, said parking tariffs had been frozen at 2011 levels to encourage people to visit town centres.

“However, with the increased costs of managing and maintaining car parks, a Fife-wide tariff increase for both on and off-street parking is now required and was approved as part of the budget in February.

“Unfortunately, we are in a position where we need to save around £91m over the next three years and as a result tough budgetary decisions must be made.”

The budget also proposed introducing car parking charges on Sundays across Fife - a move which would save £249,000 by 2018/19.