This is why Kirkcaldy town centre is a parking ticket hotspot

Kirkcaldy High Street generates twice as many parking tickets than any other street in Fife - and the region’s top 15 hot spots feature no fewer than five town centre locations.
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But while the figures do make you sit up and take notice, there ARE reasons behind them councillors say, and that context is key to any debate which has dominated the town centre for years.

Kirkcaldy used to have the two top revenue earning car parks in Fife - Tolbooth Street, which was closed to make way for the £15m Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre, and above Tesco in Hunter which saw usage collapse after the supermarket quit town in 2015 – but the Lang Toun still accounts for five of the 15 top parking ticket hot spots in Fife.

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More than 17,000 parking tickets were issued by Fife Council’s wardens last year the local authority last year. The Lang Toun’s High Street topped the list with 1274 - double the 640 issued in second placed South Street, St Andrews, and almost four times more than the 363 given out in the university town’s North Street.

Parking tickets were issued in Kirkcaldy High Street more than anywhere else in Fife (Pic: TSPL)Parking tickets were issued in Kirkcaldy High Street more than anywhere else in Fife (Pic: TSPL)
Parking tickets were issued in Kirkcaldy High Street more than anywhere else in Fife (Pic: TSPL)

The Esplanade also made the top ten with 309 tickets with Hill Street on 130, Hunter Street 129, and Sang Road 123. Tickets usually cost £60, but can be discounted for early payment.

Councillor Ian Cameron, convenor of Kirkcaldy area committee, said the Lang Toun had double the number of car parks than Dunfermline and four times as many as St Andrews. The latter has more street spaces, and taking the total parking charges into account the towns are significantly closer in total.

And the 1274 tickets issued in the High Street reflected the council’s efforts to keep cars and pedestrians separate. Over 250 tickets were issued to people who either had no, or an invalid Blue Badge, 282 were for parking in loading bays, 38 for using taxi bays. He argued this meant businesses were being supported by moving people wrongly parked.

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Breaking down the total also gives more insight into the underlying issues. Of the 1274 PCNs issued on the High Street only eight tickets were for people with expired tickets and for areas with waiting limits, overstays amounted to 87 tickets. There are other categories where PCNs were issued such as no waiting, no loading - double yellow lines etc - which are typically there for good reason and at certain times apply to the whole pedestrianized zone. The number here was 385 tickets.

Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Cllr Cameron said: “Overall the numbers seem high but when you look at the detail it supports what has been consulted on and implemented. There are more discussions to be had as we move forward but the number of tickets does not need a rethink and the numbers should reduce as traffic management solutions become more embedded.”

Opinion among traders is split, with customers raising concerns on a regular basis.

Some pointed to problems getting deliveries or collections, others with the fact people can’t get parked without paying - even for a short time.

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One businessman, who has operated in the town centre for many years, said: “It's an off-putting experience for potential customers who want to travel to Kirkcaldy, to have to park. It’s an issue that has been raised probably more times than I can remember.”

In 2022, a dozen business sin the east end carried petitions calling for two hours free parking. They are still available and have attracted over 700 signatures.

One business owner said: “Too many customers are complaining about parking. They’re charging about £2 or £3 for one hour, so instead they go to the retail park for free parking. The High Street is affected by parking.”

Another said: “This is affecting our business a lot because nobody can park here. Only one car can park right outside on the road so they have to pay for parking. People are now not shopping in our shop and the shop is getting very quiet.”

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Traders have met with Neale Hanvey MP to find ways to improve the High Street, and many discussions have returned to the issue of parking charges.

“We want people to come here to shop - these are difficult times,” said one. “When somebody has the chance of going to the retail park and parking for free it is hard.”

The 17,000-plus parking tickets handed out across Fife last year generated revenue in excess of £520,000 for the council which employs 18 parking attendants - and Kirkcaldy Dunfermline and St Andrews are priority areas.