Group to look at ways to scrap parking charges in Lincolnshire
Councillors have formed a focus group to look into the prospect of scrapping some parking charges in Lincolnshire.
It comes as shoppers and businesses say waiving tariffs would help struggling retail firms.
The Echo reported last week how some senior politicians at Lincolnshire County Council were urging district councils to reconsider their stance on parking fees.
It followed the success of a scheme in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, where the introduction of two hours' free parking saw shopper numbers in the town double.
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Now, East Lindsey District Council, spearheaded by county and district councillor Hugo Marfleet, has launched a task and finish group where parking legislation will be reviewed.
Mr Marfleet, who represents Louth Wolds at County Hall, said: "This is an idea that has been floating about for a while.
"It is a good idea and that is why I have set up this task and finish group at East Lindsey District Council."
Assistant manager at Mothercare in Lincoln, Ann-Louise McCumesty, said: "This is a fantastic idea and hopefully it is one that eventually gets the go ahead.
"It is a good scheme that will drive people into the city centre. I think a lot of people are put off by the price of parking. Not only would it be a big boost to Mothercare but also other businesses in Lincoln."
Rosemary Clark, resident in North Hykeham, said: "A short spell of free parking would be great for the county.
"I am a car driver and I have a bus pass but I will always use my bus pass to go into Lincoln because of the high car parking prices.
"Whenever I do use my car and park somewhere I am forever looking at my watch thinking 'when do I need to be back?'
"It can often stop you bumping into an old friend and going for a quick coffee.
"At the end of the day, every little bit of money spent is helping the economy."
Peter Phillips, a resident of Boothby Graffoe, seven miles south of Lincoln, said: "If some kind of free parking does not take place, Lincoln's high street and other county town high streets will die. The small loss of parking revenue will be made up by closed down shops reopening."
While most appear to support the idea, chief executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce Simon Beardsley says there are two sides to the argument.
He said: "A number of towns in Lincolnshire do it already and businesses in those areas have reported positive experiences in terms of getting people into the town.
"But, of course, if there is only an hour or two of free parking that can also contribute to people leaving the town earlier than normal.
"Car parks need to produce a strategy that will be able to sustain such an idea.
"What could be right for a city like Lincoln could not be for somewhere like Bourne or Boston."
See our letters pages from p42 to p45