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Group to look at ways to scrap parking charges in Lincolnshire

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

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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

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  • Andy612  |  October 06 2012, 11:40AM

    I move around a bit and have just migrated from Notts to Hants. In Notts we had 2 hrs free parking in the area and on a Saturday morning the shops were buzzing, people would meet in town for coffee etc so the cafe's with outside areas were always full.... In Hants (and Surrey next door) it costs 60p an hour to park 24/7 - even the supermarkets charge! Also I've never seen so many parking enforcement officers in one place in my life - I saw 4 in one car park (capacity 1500, cars parked about 200). Guess what - on a Saturday morning the shopping areas here are like ghost towns. Personnally I feel I am being stolen from when asked to drop 60p in a machine to park for 10 minutes while I pick up a few odds and ends I think I need - so I don't do it now and save up my 'needs' to get when I am somewhere that doesn't rip you off. I was even more astounded to find they charge you 50p to check the air in your tyres in most garages down here - so I no longer use them for anything. I asked a window cleaner for a quote and he wanted £30 to do 10 windows - got my chammy leather... Bottom line for me is that if you rip people off they don't come back - car parking systems that extort money from people that don't actually have much can only be to the detriment of local businesses and are instrumental in creating a town that feels like it has no 'life' - further detracting from return visits. Give it a whirl, knock off the parking costs for a year and see if the city and town centres wake up!

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  • Nodroggy  |  October 06 2012, 6:59AM

    To Inside Story and Vexxed, you are quite right my comments were not complimentary to workers at the tip who do a very good and necessary job - to them I apologize. I am sure though that Vexxed must agree that money spent in parking is not really going to local traders and once paid into a parking meter is not going to be spent in a local shop. You can only spend it once! I am speaking from the point of view of a retired Lincoln City Centre trader of 33 years standing.

  • InsideStory  |  October 05 2012, 6:45PM

    People working down your local tip may have a very good education and are not drawing dole money. If a person can afford to run a vehicle then i'm sure paying for parking is no hardship . Time could be better spent lobbying your elected representatives for lower taxes on fuel.

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  • Vexxed  |  October 05 2012, 12:14PM

    @Nodroggy "...This man should be given a job working down at the local tip..." That sir, is an insult to people who work at our local tip, who clearly have far more intelligence than Mr Beardsley. I do however, support wholeheartedly the remainder of your comments. Whilst buses and taxis can be an alternative (in some cases far cheaper) it does put me off from buying large items locally as it is often cheaper to pay for delivery off a website. I would happily pay the extra that you save online in favour of having my purchase "There and then" and keeping my hard earned cash in the local economy.

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  • Nodroggy  |  October 04 2012, 8:10PM

    Simon Beardsley said "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" This man should be given a job working down at the local tip, he obviously has no idea what he is on about. Of course it will make a difference and has been proved to be correct in other towns so what is he on about? It is because of people like Simon Beardsley that we have such ridiculous parking charges in the first place.

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  • rascall1  |  October 04 2012, 9:38AM

    It would have been better to not form a group and put that money insteaad towards reduction of charges instead we all know they will cost many thousands to investigate and say "well with all the cost we can save you about £100s, just wish they would stop messing about and save instead of spend to save, it rarely works that way.

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  • captainred  |  October 04 2012, 9:37AM

    the pennys dropped at last.

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  • simonlincs  |  October 04 2012, 9:28AM

    I think its a terrific idea and its nice to see that finally someone in power has seen sense,lets just hope it gets introduced ASAP

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