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Fife Council accused of ’embarrassing u-turn’ by Conservatives over park and ride charges

Ferrytoll Park and Ride
Ferrytoll Park and Ride

Conservatives have accused Fife Council of an “embarrassing u-turn” over the scrapping of park and ride charges.

Proposals to introduce a £1 fee at the Halbeath and Ferrytoll sites were thrown out on Thursday after Stagecoach stepped in to cover a £260,000 funding shortfall faced by the local authority.

The agreement reached by the bus firm and the authority meant the fee was no longer needed to make savings first mooted as part of budget discussions in February.

Cowdenbeath Conservative cuncillor Darren Watt said: “This whole proposal has been a complete waste of everyone’s time and caused nothing but worry and anxiety for those who rely on the service.

“Hopefully lessons will be learnt and this will be the last we hear of such ludicrous proposals.

“This is nothing more than an embarrassing u-turn by the SNP-Labour administration at Fife Council.”

Tory councillors on both the south and west Fife and Cowdenbeath area committees made a failed attempt to halt the proposed charges when they were considered in June.

The council said the fees were necessary because of budget pressures facing the authority.

The unpopular plans drew 285 objections across south and west Fife, but just 16 in the Cowdenbeath area.

“From the very start my Fife Conservative colleagues and I emphasised the financial impact this will have on commuters and the potential knock-on effect it will have on our roads and infrastructure,” said Mr Watt.

“We fought this all the way and it looks like our efforts have finally paid off.

“They failed to effectively work with partner organisations and they refused to listen or acknowledge any of the objections or concerns raised by the public and arrogantly pressed ahead aiming straight for the pockets of commuters.”

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay Tory councillor Dave Dempsey added: “The Conservatives on the council were the only group who opposed this parking charge, and I’m delighted that we have forced the council to listen to local residents and scrap this extra charge on Fife commuters.”

However, the council’s Labour co-leader David Ross hit back: “I find it amusing that all kinds of people who didn’t have a clue what was going on behind the scenes between Stagecoach and the council, and were very vocal in their criticism of the council, are now trying to claim credit for this agreement.”

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