Which town in Fife generates most parking tickets? Correct - Kirkcaldy. In fact twice as many fines were doled out here than Dunfermline, and now our MSP wants to know why ...
Are motorists in Kirkcaldy being targeted by Council parking attendants in a bid to raise revenue?
That’s the question being posed by David Torrance MSP after he obtained figures revealing the huge number of tickets dished out in the Lang Toun.
His Freedom of Information request showed Kirkcaldy was miles ahead when it came to parking tickets being issued.
Between April 2013 and October 2014, some 5915 penalty charge notices were issued in Dunfermline ... but in Kirkcaldy that number soared to 10,537.
In Glenrothes, where town centre parking is privately run, accounted for just 66 tickets.
Now Mr Torrance is calling on Fife Council to carry out a complete overhaul of parking in Kirkcaldy’s town centre as he fears that shoppers are being driven away.
“The tickets issued comes to £300,000 worth of revenue for the Council - and that’s if people pay within 28 days,” he said. “It’s a lot more if they don’t.
“You have to ask the question, is that money being put back into the High Street and surrounding area?”
The MSP said he had received a number of complaints from constituents regarding the situation.
“I had someone come into my office with a parking ticket who said that they would not be shopping in Kirkcaldy High Street again.
“How many people is this turning away from the High Street never to return?
“The Council has to have a serious look at the way in which it conducts its business.
“If it wants to encourage people to come to the High Street - and it’s more important than ever with the loss of Tesco - it has to look at areas where people can park for free. It has to look at welcoming people in rather than chasing them away.”
Cllr. Pat Callaghan, executive member for transportation, denied claims Kirkcaldy was being targeted.
He said: “There is definitely no unfair penalising of motorists. Photographic evidence is taken of all parking breaches which protects both the motorist and the warden.
“The purpose of the fines is to improve our town centre experience for all, making sure that individuals are parking responsibly and legally.
“If Mr Torrance has any issues with the way parking tickets are being issued I would welcome the opportunity to talk to him.’’
Why parking issues incur wrath of businesses
Business owners in Kirkcaldy’s town centre have voiced their displeasure at the parking situation.
Alistair Cameron of ACA Sports on the High Street said that a poor choice of parking was having a detrimental effect on his business and described it as “a nightmare”.
“Successive administrations have failed to understand what it is people expect nowadays,” he said.
“There are enough parking spaces in the town centre, the problem is that they’re in the wrong places.
“Another problem is that parking in Kirkcaldy has a terrible reputation which puts people off.
“The Council has enough information at its fingertips to sort this out and has done nothing about it. It beggars belief that there’s a questionnaire at the leisure centre asking the public what the problems are. It knows what they are!
“All it needs is a bit of investment to sort the problem out. It’s not rocket science.”
On Hunter Street Tony Citro, owner of Pane E Vino, accused the Council’s parking attendants of being over zealous.
He said: “It’s crazy. I see them out in Hunter Street all the time and they’re chasing people away.
“Even now with Tesco going they’re still doing it. It’s just Fife Council being greedy. Even if people are just a minute late they’ll give them a ticket. They need to be more flexible.
“The Council has killed the town already in my opinion. It’s so unnecessary - this is just a traditional town. It’s not the centre of London.
“I’m trying to run a business here and the Council is having an effect on me and making it harder.
“It would be easy for me just to pack up and close but I’m going to fight them until the end.”