SCRAPPING parking charges and reducing business rates are two of the main improvements our readers would introduce to Dunfermline town centre.

We asked readers on our Facebook page how they’d attract more people to the town if they were in charge.

It follows the Press story earlier this month on digital designer Mikey Inglis, who suggested Dunfermline would be bypassed by tourists for Edinburgh, St Andrews and Stirling unless serious action was taken to welcome visitors.

Among the most common suggestions over social media was removing parking charges in the town centre.

One reader, Laura Fitzgerald, said introducing free parking at weekends may encourage more people to stay in the town.

She said: “Folk who come to shop might stay for food and drink.

“They can leave the car and not worry about being charged for Sunday parking.

“Hospitality section needs all the help it can get.”

This was echoed by Andy Jones, who said: “Given the proximity to Edinburgh, parking should be free to attract footfall.

“There’s currently very little to attract shoppers.”

Tam Jamieson also added: “Drop the parking charges and the car parks will be full with cars from the people that work in the town.

“Some kind of charge return/refund if you buy from local shops is a better idea.”

Many readers felt that the current shops on offer in Dunfermline are commonplace in other towns and cities, and that small businesses needed cheaper rates in order to be successful.

Nico McCall, from Dunfermline, said: “The High Street, the shopping centre and the retail park all have empty units.

"The only shops that ever seem to be busy are Primark and the pound shop.

“I think people would rather choose to travel further afield so that they can get all their shopping done in one place instead of heading into the town and coming home with nothing.”

Joanna Crozier-Hamilton added: “Reduce the rates to encourage new businesses, encourage a range of shops and services rather than barbers/hairdressers.

“Cut the cost of parking and make it free at weekends.

"Fill empty shop spaces even if it’s pop-up shops or a creative space – don’t have lots of empty shop space!”

Terry Gordon said: "Bring back more shops, instead of having phone shops and charity shops galore. When I was wee the town was full of shops all the way down the high street. Look at it now, derelict."

Another Dunfermline reader, Peter McCue, feels plans for a new drive-thru McDonald’s in Duloch would have been ideal for Dunfermline town centre instead.

He said: “What they (Fife Council) could have done is told McDonald’s that if they want to have another restaurant in Dunfermline, it should be central so it will have a knock-on effect for the local economy.

“But no, they decided to grant permission for one to be built in a residential area three miles away from the town centre; right next to a school and within a one-mile radius of the other two.”

The return of outdoor markets and introducing street eateries were among the other ideas suggested, as well as outdoor coffee shop seating areas.