Sunday car parking charges could be introduced in Fife from November if councillors give their approval at a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday.
But the proposal to introduce Sunday charges has attracted opposition – with half of the objections received by the council coming from churches, church groups or mentioning churches.
The vast majority of objections have come from the St Andrews area, with concerns raised about the impact on businesses, tourism and residents in the town.
The proposal to introduce parking charges on Sundays was approved by Fife Council as part of the revenue budget in February this year.
Permission is now being sought to implement the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to allow Sunday parking charges.
It’s suggested councillors could consider three options: Allow Sunday parking charges to be implemented; introduce parking charges from 1pm on Sundays, taking into account the objections from churches and church groups; or fully uphold the objections and withdraw the proposal to introduce parking charges on Sundays.
The recommendation from officers in for the first option – all day parking charges on Sundays.
In his report to councillors, Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment, states: “Demand for parking within our town centres on Sundays is generally like any other day of the week, with Sunday trading now commonplace.
“Given this level of demand and the need to safeguard access to our centres for shoppers, businesses and visitors, it is appropriate to charge for car parking on Sundays. It will ensure that there is turnover of available parking on Sundays.
“Parking attendants are currently deployed on Sundays to help ensure safe access to our car parks and on-street parking locations.
“The council incurs significant costs in the management and maintenance of car parking. The potential additional revenue income generated from this measure will help to offset such operating costs.”
The report goes on to say that of the 20 churches in Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and St Andrews within charged parking areas, 11 objected; but adds there would still adequate free parking capacity within five minutes’ walk of all churches on a Sunday morning.
And it points out that anyone who has a blue badge can already park in metered on-street or off-street parking places without limit of time and free of charge every day, and this would also be the case on Sundays.
Fife Council says its parking charges remain competitive when compared with neighbouring authorities, and points out that charges already apply on Sundays in Dundee and Edinburgh.
The private car parks associated with two key shopping centres in Fife – Mercat in Kirkcaldy and Kingsgate in Dunfermline – also charge on Sundays.