Msarket Rasen residents received a not-so-welcome Christmas present last week, as parking meters arrived at the town’s district council-run car parks.
The new machines, which will come into use at all of West Lindsey District Council-run car parks on January 30, were delivered last Wednesday and installed later that same week.
The arrival of the unpopular machines sparked an angry reaction from local residents on social media.
They branded the introduction of parking charges as ‘stupid’ and said Rasen could become a ‘ghost town’ by putting off potential visitors.
Tasha Hall said: “It’s not going to do the town’s businesses any favours at all. If people want to pay for parking they will go somewhere bigger with more shops.”
Katie Sargent suggested that the car parks should be ‘boycotted’, and added “They’ll soon change their minds when no one uses them.”
Although the parking charges do not come into force for another month, there has been some confusion about the situation due to a lack of signage - which has also affected those who have tried to sign up for an annual parking permit.
Stella Tuplin, centre manager and director at the Market Rasen Development Trust, contacted West Lindsey District Council back in October to apply for a permit, but says she was told she would be put on a database and contacted nearer the time.
However, after hearing nothing back for two months, Stella called the District Council again on Friday (December 23) and was told that she would have to pick a permit application form from the Festival Hall.
No reason was provided as to why Stella had not been contacted by the District Council.
Stella told the Mail: “Because I drive into town every day, I wanted to get a permit so I didn’t have to pay every day. It’s not very fair that I hadn’t been called back.”
She added that there were no information signs to tell people how to apply for a permit or where to pick up an application form.
Stella also suggested that the lack of information about the fact that the parking meters are not yet in force would cause confusion.
She said: “It would be confusing for visitors to the town who wouldn’t know whether they had to pay.
“It’s a bit bad at the moment because people have seen the machines being installed and they’ll be wondering whether they have to start paying already.”
A WLDC spokesman said four people had enquired in advance about permits, and that they were all due to receive a call from the council by the end of last week.
The spokesman added tariff signs would be in place once the charges begin and stressed the meters would not accept any attempted payments until that date.
Once the parking meters are activated on January 30, the charges will apply between 8am and 3pm from Monday to Saturday. Parking will be free after 3pm every day and free all day Sunday.
on Sundays and Bank Holidays, and for blue badges holders.