Launch of cut price parking charges in Kirkcaldy for trial period

Neil Crooks , Suzie Hall and Bill Harvey promote the discounted parking scheme. Pic: FPA
Neil Crooks , Suzie Hall and Bill Harvey promote the discounted parking scheme. Pic: FPA

Parking charges in Kirkcaldy’s town centre will be reduced from Monday in a bid to encourage more people to visit and shop.

The six month trial period which will run until the end of May applies to all Council managed car parks in the town centre.

Kirkcaldy is a great town, with a great history, and we want people to use their town centre

Bill Harvey, Bid Manager at Kirkcaldy 4 All

It’s a joint venture between Kirkcaldy 4 All and Fife Council to bring people back to the High Street - and if it works then it is hoped that the cost of parking will remain lowered permanently.

So Bill Harvey, Bid Manager at Kirkcaldy 4 All says the message to Lang Touners is ‘use it, or lose it’.

He said: “We are delighted to be able to support this trial.

“Business rates in Kirkcaldy have been historically high and in the current economic climate, it has proven difficult for existing business owners to entice new customers.

“Having high parking costs in the mix certainly hasn’t helped.

“Kirkcaldy is a great town, with a great history, and we want people to use their town centre.

“If we can’t prove that this pilot has increased cars using the Council car parks and increased the dwell time in the shops, then we will struggle to have a case to keep the costs lowered.

“We hope the public and especially the town centre workers, will take advantage of the offer.”

Costs for short stay and long stay car parks in the town centre have been changed and so has the cost of parking season tickets, which have been halved in price.

Also, the lower two levels of the Esplanade car park will be open from 6.30 am – 10pm Monday to Friday to accommodate visitors to the Leisure Centre.

Business owners in the town centre have been giving their backing to the pilot.

Catherine Young, owner of Canterbury Bells at the West End of Kirkcaldy’s High Street said it was “a great idea”.

She added: “This has been a big issue for a long time and we need something to get more people down here.

“I absolutely think it will encourage more people to the High Street.”

In Hunter Street Louise Canny of Eloise said: ““It’s about time the council opened its eyes to the problem of parking in the town centre.

“Something like this is long awaited.”

Alistair Cameron of ACA Sports in the Merchant’s Quarter called it “an encouraging start”.

“This has taken some time to come but I know that’s because there are a lot of regulations when it comes to parking, so it’s very difficult to come up with something that suits everybody, but I think this is really good.

“I also think it’s good that they’re going to use the bottom two storeys of the multi-storey car park for the Leisure Centre. That should help alleviate some of the congestion on the Esplanade.

“There are still some issues for us here in the east end with people leaving their cars parked illegally all day.

“But that aside, I think this is a step forward in the right direction. It’s certainly better than nothing and hopefully people in Kirkcaldy will come into town and take advantage of it.”

Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, welcomed the trial, saying: “Car park charges are usually considered on a Fife-wide basis, but we’ve been given the opportunity to try to positively react to this situation locally.

“The impact of the closure of the Tesco store has given us a solid case to make these changes.

“We’ll be looking closely at this trial which will hopefully encourage more people to pay less and stay longer.

“Parking is as a key action point in Kirkcaldy’s ‘Time for Action’ plan and there’ll be great interest in whether this trial will contribute towards regenerating the town centre.

“I hope people get behind it and take advantage of these new parking options.”

Parking: It’s a long story ...

Parking is one of the major problems standing in the way of developing and improving our town centre.

It consistently tops the lots of action points in every survey and consulation.

Previously Fife Council has pointed out the town has mopre than enough parking spaces, but traders and business groups have long argued that they are in the wrong place, and often poorly used.

The loss of Tolbooth Street car park - closed to make way for the town’s £15m leisure centre - had a massive impact on businesses, and it also robbed the local authority of its single biggest earner when it came to revenue from the ticket machines.

The closure of Tesco also saw usage of the car park above the supermarket collapse dramatically, hitting transport budgets further - it was their third busiest car park in Fife.

The local BID group, Kirkcaldy4All and many others have pushed strongly for car parking to be run by the area committee - in effect taking control of decisions on charges and also the options over how to pay - but this has not found complete support within the ruling administration at Fife House.

The town has still to sort out the parking problems on the pedestrianised zone of the High Street - another major issue - but a TRO is due to be discussed soon which would allow councillors to amend the laws and allow their officers to finally patrol the zone.

How it works

The new costs for the pilot scheme are:

Short Stay

0-1 hours for £1

1 –2 hours for £1

2-3 hours for £2

Long Stay

0-1 hours for £1

1 – 2 hours for £1

2-4 hours for £2

4+ hours for £3

This will apply to all Council multi-storey car parks and surface car parks. This includes the Esplanade, Thistle Street and the Postings multi-storey. All Waterfront surface car parks, Charlotte Street, Nicol Street, Oswald Wynd, Coal Wynd and Glasswork Street.

Quarterly car park season tickets have been halved to £60 from £120.

This equates to £1 per day for a five day working week.

The lower two levels of the Esplanade car park will now be open from 6.30 am – 10.00 pm, Monday to Friday for customers at the Leisure Centre.