More car park charges could be on the way

Introducing car parking charges at railway stations, including Kirkcaldy, is one of 49 suggestions put forward.
Introducing car parking charges at railway stations, including Kirkcaldy, is one of 49 suggestions put forward.

Charging for car parking on Sundays is one of 49 income-generating and savings options proposed by Fife Council’s transportation service.

It’s also suggested bringing in charges for car parks at railway stations and park and ride facilities – an idea previously rejected by councillors – and extending charges to other town centre car parks which are currently free.

Ideas to save money include scrapping rail concessions, reducing – or stopping – subsidised bus services, and scrapping discretionary free school transport, meeting only its statutory requirements.

The service has also suggested reducing inspections, maintenance and repairs in a number of areas, including flood prevention, coastal protection, roads, footways, cycleways, bridges, roads drainage and road markings.

The 49 options could save or generate around £11 million.

While some suggestions are contained in the Labour administration’s draft budget – such as introducing a £20 charge for Blue badges for disabled people – not all the ideas will be taken forward.

The service has a target of finding savings of around £5m as its contribution towards closing the Council’s much-publicised £77m funding gap.

Council leader David Ross said: “A huge amount of work has gone into this and it will take some time to go through it all.

“These are officers’ proposals, some of which we might consider and some which we might not do anything with.

“There are a number of key issues in here which we will have to discuss before we take anything forward.”

On the issue of parking charges, a report by the transportation service states: “The extension of car parking charges to rail interchanges and park and ride facilities would appear to be a reasonable proposition to support the ongoing maintenance and management of the Council’s 173 Fife-wide car parking facilities.

“Similarly the extension of charging to Sundays and other car parks in towns that already charge would offer a greater consistency of approach.”

Kirkcaldy currently has 36 Council-run car parks, of which 21 are free. There are 1277 free parking spaces in the town’s car parks and 1702 spaces which are charged for.