Scrapping free parking in Lincolnshire towns would generate £520k a year
TOWNS and villages which currently have free parking areas could see that privilege scrapped next year.
East Lindsey District Council is currently reviewing car parking in the district and unveiled package of measures aimed at swelling its coffers by as much as £520,000 a year.
Sunday charging could be extended beyond Skegness and Mablethorpe to the whole district.
Not only that but the free parking that has existed for many years in some parts of Alford, Burgh-le-Marsh, Coningsby, Louth, Spilsby, Sutton-on-Sea and Woodhall Spa has been earmarked for the axe.
The issue sparked angry scenes after they were discussed at a meeting of the full council last week.
Some members felt the East Lindsey communities which currently enjoy areas of free parking could have a detrimental effect on local businesses.
In Louth, the town's cattle market is a free car park used mainly by people who work in the town.
Councillor Trevor Marris who gave views to the scrutiny panel on behalf of the town council, said: "Kidgate was a car park mainly used by people who worked in the town. As soon as the cattle market was opened up as a free car park, the town centre car parks were freed up for visitors and it worked.
"If they introduce parking at the cattle market, employees will just park in the town again because they will be closer to work.
"Car parking needs to be kept for shoppers and businesses. If the cost is too expensive, it won't encourage people to come and visit Louth."
Concerns have also be raised to the proposals by Spilsby Mayor Michael Lenton.
Spilsby's Boston Road car park is free and the Post Office lane car park is free for the first hour, primarily used by people visiting the doctor's surgery.
Mr Lenton said: "If they are considering scrapping the free hour at Post Office Lane, this will discriminate people coming to visit the surgery or to collect a prescription. I understand the council needs to raise revenue however, if they are thinking of promoting business, scrapping free parking and increasing fees will have the reverse effect.
A spokesman from East Lindsey District Council said: "A scrutiny panel has undertaken a review of the entire car parking service. In making recommendations, councillors were clear how important car parking is to the local economy as well as how important car parking income is to the council in helping to fund services to local people.
"The scrutiny review is complete and was discussed at Council on October 10, but no decision has yet been made on the way forward. A report will go to the council's November executive board meeting."