New management arrangements at the St Andrews West Sands are to come in to place later this year.
The St Andrews Links Trust will assume responsibility for the whole area as far as the high water mark on the beach.
But, Fife councillor Dorothea Morrison told St Andrews Community Council this week, that could mean the introduction of parking charges at West Sands.
The Links Trust has had responsibility for the town’s links – to the high water mark – since 1974, but until now Fife Council and the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) have looked after the area, and they will continue to take responsibility for parts of it in future.
Cllr Morrison said that Fife Council would continue to look after the road and the public toilets at the West Sands – with plans to improve the facilities for this summer – while FCCT would continue their work on the dunes and the Eden Estuary.
However, she said, the Links Trust could be considering introducing parking charges in areas of the West Sands, with a barrier re-introduced.
“The Links Trust is very clear they that don’t want local people having extra expense,” she said, promising, “There will be consultation before anything happens,” and adding: “Everything the Links Trust is trying to do is to help the area and make it sustainable and income from parking charges would be ring-fenced for the maintenance of the area.”
Still in the early days of developing plans for the area, a spokesman for the Links Trust confirmed the change in arrangements, explaining: “We have formalised some of the maintenance issues we have previously assisted with at the West Sands. As a result, from April we will now assume responsibility for grass cutting and shrub maintenance in the areas currently used by the public. Alongside this Fife Council will continue to maintain all access roads and the public toilets, while FCCT will continue its work on dune restoration, protection and its wider work around the Eden Estuary.
“We are working with all relevant parties, looking at the West Sands as a whole and exploring any additional work that could be undertaken to ensure, that as a much loved resource for visitors and members of the community, the West Sands are maintained in the best possible way for years to come.”