Kirkcaldy shoppers are being urged to turn out in numbers and back a cut-price parking trial in the town centre.
Local councillors have once again agreed to extend the “£1 for two hours” initiative for a further three months.
The scheme, aimed at bolstering trade in the town’s traditional shopping precinct, has seen increases in visitor numbers to car parks, despite the loss of key stores such as Tesco and BHS in recent years.
However, with local election councils taking place in May and fearful that the next council administration could be tempted to return to standard parking tariffs, Bill Harvey, manager of town centre BID Kirkcaldy 4 All, said that it would be up to shoppers to prove that cut-price parking was effective in bringing more people to the area.
“One thing I would like to say is that we’ve had great support from the Kirkcaldy area committee for backing this plan.
“This trial was based on a parking survey that we put forward.
“What we need now is the public to get behind this trial as there is a real risk that the council will revert to standard parking charges after this.
“The town would survive but it would be a backward step to take and a very bitter pill for the town centre to swallow.”
The trial was first introduced in September 2015 as part of a bid to support business in the town’s traditional shopping precinct, which has struggled to compete with the Fife Central Retail Park on the town’s northern edge, where shoppers can park for free.
Short-stay parking between one and two hours has been reduced by 50p to £1 during the trial period, while long-stay charges have been reduced from £2.50 to £2 for two to four hours and from £3.60 to £3 for periods of more than four hours.
The cost of a quarterly season ticket has been reduced from £120 to £60, and uptake of these has risen dramatically, providing additional revenue to the council of more than £12,000.
However, Susan Keenlyside, Fife Council’s lead professional for sustainable transport, pointed out that the scheme was being heavily subsidised by local budgets.
“Local businesses have reported a positive impact on trade but there is a clear loss of car parking revenue,” she said.