Good response from shoppers to Kirkcaldy parking trial

Cllr 'Neil Crooks, Suzie Hall & Bill Harvey launched the scheme in September. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.
Cllr 'Neil Crooks, Suzie Hall & Bill Harvey launched the scheme in September. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.

Retailers and shoppers have given their backing to the parking charge trial in Kirkcaldy’s town centre.

The scheme, which was launched in September, saw a reduction in the cost of using town centre car parks and the price of a parking season ticket halved in a bid to attract more footfall to the area.

Bill Harvey, from Kirkcaldy 4 All, which implemented the scheme in a joint venture with Fife Council, said he was pleased with the initial response.

“We’ve seen a rise somewhere between 10-15 per cent,” he said.

“We hope it continues to grow and that people take advantage of it until the end of the trial, so that we can average the figure over the entire six months.

“It’s good for the retailers and the businesses down here to see we have a collaborative approach, both with us here at Kirkcaldy 4 All representing the businesses, and also Fife Council looking to work with us to benefit everyone in the town centre.”

Stephen Roberts, manager of the Mercat, said: “The car parking reduction initiative for the town centre has had a positive impact on the footfall around the town and has been well received by both our stores and customers.”

John Crichton, manager of TK Maxx, added the initiative has “encouraged more people to park and spend time here”.

“Any initiative such as this is very welcome and I would hope this initiative will continue.”

Joyce Kirk, manager of Marks and Spencer, said: “Anything that sustains customers coming into town has to be encouraged.

“I would hate to see parking resort to the charges that they were.”

Bill added: “Anecdotal evidence shows the trial is starting to have a bit of an impact. Like anything, it takes a wee bit of time for people to get used to it.

“We’re measuring the entrances to car parks to see how many cars are going in each day. That gives us more evidence as the trial goes forward.

“I think this sends a message out to other places that we’re pro-active and would encourage visitors to come into the town.”

A Fife Council spokesman gave a cautious response to the trial so far, saying: “Given the town centre has changed much in terms of parking over the past few years, it will take the six-month trial to give a clearer picture of a change in demand.

“More monitoring will be required to help determine the impact of lower parking tariffs, not just over the busier Christmas period but also into early next year.”