Parking ticket blitz leads to war of words

There has been an increase in fixed penalty notices in Kirkcaldy
There has been an increase in fixed penalty notices in Kirkcaldy
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Motorists in Kirkcaldy have been hit hard by Fife Council’s new parking attendants with three times as many tickets issued as in Dunfermline.

Statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Kirkcaldy’s MSP David Torrance show that drivers in the Lang Toun have been hit much harder than those in the west, leading to a war of words between 
politicians.

Fife Council strongly denied it was using the tickets as a way of raising cash after taking over parking matters from the police this summer.

And they said the MSP had taken the numbers out of context.

But Mr Torrance said he was “both amazed and appalled” that since Fife Council assumed responsibility for monitoring parking offences at the start of June, 755 tickets have been issued in Kirkcaldy up to July 5 ... compared with just 225 in Dunfermline.

Last year police in Kirkcaldy issued a total of 1373 tickets

But Fife Council has said that Mr Torrance was quoting the figures “out of context”.

The Kirkcaldy MSP said tickets were being issued for the smallest infringements, and he accused the Council of targeting shoppers and commuters in an attempt to make money.

He said: “It is essential that parking infringements that might impede the free flow of traffic in Kirkcaldy, or cause a danger to the public, especially around the town centre are monitored and dealt with appropriately.

“However, it would appear to me that when the number of tickets issued by parking attendants employed by the Council in one month alone is almost half the number for the whole of the previous year, then the response is disproportionate and over 
zealous.

“This can be seen as nothing more than an exercise in boosting the coffers of Fife Council yet again at the expense of the people of Kirkcaldy.”

Councillor Pat Callaghan, executive member for transportation and environment, hit back.

He said: “The figure of 1373 tickets issued by Police Scotland only includes tickets they issued for on street parking breaches and does not include the number of tickets issued by Fife Council in that time.

“The 755 figure for June includes all tickets issued for parking breaches, both on street and within car parks etc.”

Mr Callaghan insisted that the figures are roughly in line with the monthly average and denied that the Council was targeting motorists.

He added: “Any implication that there is anything untoward in the way these parking tickets are issued, is particularly upsetting for our officers.”

Mr Torrance said he was concerned that over zealous parking attendants may scare drivers away from shopping in the town centre.

He said: “If parking tickets continue to be issued at this rate it will certainly provide the Council with greater revenue, but will merely be yet another measure that will drive people away from the town centre.”