DUNFERMLINE councillors have been handed the power to scrap Sunday parking charges in the town.

At Fife Council’s budget meeting on Thursday, a move to give area committees the final decision was approved – with £100,000 set aside to help make it happen.

The Press launched the Keep It Free campaign in January and called on the council to scrap the unpopular charges, which were introduced in 2017 to try to plug a £40 million hole in their finances.

A report outlining the SNP and Labour budget proposals said: “In line with the joint administration’s commitment to decentralising control over local parking to area committees, so that local solutions can be developed according to local circumstances, £100,000 will be invested to facilitate this process of decentralisation, giving each area committee a degree of flexibility in how it approaches charging, enforcement and maintenance issues in the area.”

The council’s co-leader, David Alexander, told fellow councillors that the seven area committees in Fife could now “make their own decisions on parking charges”.

That move will be welcomed by town centre firms who have argued that forcing visitors and shoppers to pay for parking on a Sunday was “killing” trade and discouraging people from coming into Dunfermline.

The Press discovered that the charges were bringing in an average of just over £1,000 a week from Dunfermline but there were no figures available as to what it’s costing businesses in terms of lost trade.

At the same time, local authorities in other towns and cities, including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Livingston, Falkirk, Alloa, Musselburgh, Motherwell, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Dumfries, all allow free parking on the seventh day.

Debbie Jobson, who runs the Hope hairdressing salon in Maygate, called the situation “completely ridiculous” and pointed out that you can park for free on a Sunday in one of the busiest shopping and leisure areas in London, at Covent Garden, but you can’t do the same in Dunfermline.

The City of Dunfermline area committee will now be given the power to scrap the charges and the convener, Cllr Helen Law, told the Press previously that “nobody wanted to bring in parking charges on Sundays” but it was purely down to finance.

Earlier this month, the committee agreed a joint motion asking for a report to look at the charges and their impact, along with the option of removing them.

It will also look at other key shopping days when fees could be removed.

It was submitted by Lib Dem councillor for Dunfermline South, James Calder, and Dunfermline North Conservative councillor Gavin Ellis.

Cllr Calder described the Sunday charges as a “universally unwelcome addition” and in the budget meeting he said: “It’s positive that car-parking decentralisation has been placed in the budget and I think local areas should be in control of this.

“I do wonder where the £100,000 is going to be used and I also have a question about the timetable. When will this be rolled out? The Sunday parking charges have been in for two years now.”