Councillors in Kirkcaldy have agreed unanimously to extend the reduced parking charges trial in the town for a year.
The trial, which was introduced for an initial six month period in September last year saw parking tariffs in Kirkcaldy reduced from £1.50 to £1 for up to two hours, while season tickets for long stay car parks were reduced from £120 to £60 a quarter.
Results from the trial showed an overall increase in parking uptake of 3 per cent, with a particular increase of 21 per cent in the Esplanade multi-storey car park, which council officials said reflected the recent improvements, including better lighting and wider parking bays.
Feedback from local businesses via Kirkcaldy4All was very positive, with 71 per cent noticing an increase in footfall and 57 per cent a rise in sales.
This suggests that an investment of £20,000 could potentially have created an economic uplift worth up to £200,000.
Councillors on the Kirkcaldy area committee widely welcomed the initial results of the pilot scheme and agreed to provide £60,000 from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund to continue the trial for another 12 months to see if the positive upward trend would continue.
Councillor Neil Crooks, committee chairman, said it would be beneficial to have a six month progress report to the area committee.
John Mitchell, sustainable transport service manager, told members that the pending re-opening of Charlotte Street to traffic would help to further improve the parking uptake of the two multi-storeys there.
Councillor Crooks said: “We ran the trial for six months to try to encourage more people to use the town centre car parks and to stay longer and we have made some impact on both counts.”
Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All, which has worked with Fife Council to promote the parking trial, said he was “delighted” that the extension had been approved.
“It went through very smoothly and we are very pleased about that,” he said.
“Obviously there is a lot more that still needs to be done to continue to let people know about the scheme, but the pilot has proved very successful and we think that can be built on to bring even more benefit to traders in the town.”