West Lindsey District Council has been slammed for its “flawed” car parking consultation - and councillors are demanding a two-month extension.
Residents had until Monday (September 10) to have their say on whether to scrap Market Rasen’s two hours of free parking - only introduced in December 2017 - or to increase the cost of a six day permit by a massive 187 per cent, from £106.42 to £306.
Speaking at Market Rasen Town Council’s monthly meeting in Festival Hall on Wednesday (September 5), Coun Ken Bridger said: “No matter which way you want to go, it’s money grabbing.”
And Lincolnshire County Council ward member for Market Rasen ward, Lewis Strange told the meeting: “I think it’s dreadful about the car park charges in Market Rasen.
“Market Rasen is a struggling community, it needs all the help it can get.
“I can assure you I’m on your side.”
Coun Strange, who is also a West Lindsey District councillor, said it made ‘common sense’ to have a two-month extension to the consultation due to residents being on holiday in August.
He said: “I’m very annoyed about West Lindsey.
“There’s [people] in Gainsborough who are not happy about the fact that Market Rasen has the free car park.
“They need to take into account all of the facilities in Gainsborough.
“I’ll stand up and fight my corner.”
And resident Adrian Campbell said he was unhappy with the options on the consultation.
Speaking during the public forum part of the meeting, Mr Campbell said: “We all really know that one [scrapping free parking] doesn’t help businesses because everyone lost with that one.
“Businesses were damaged.
“It’s actually a flawed consultation by giving these options.
“Another option would be for West Lindsey to look at the cost of operating meters.
“If that could be reduced, we wouldn’t need this.
“A very serious option might be to look at different ways to monitor the car park instead of paying £30k for guys to come from Retford.
“I’m a businessman and I understand costs and revenue. I could have made genuine suggestions as part of the consultation.”
Deputy Mayor Steve Bunney said he was also concerned about the timing of the consultation and is calling for a public meeting with WLDC officials.
He told the meeting: “We haven’t had a meeting since it started.
“I don’t believe West Lindsey didn’t know councils don’t meet in August - it’s pretty common knowledge.
“Adrian feels, quite rightly, the survey doesn’t ask enough questions.
“There’s a view in the town that some of the streets are full, if permits go up, it’ll make that worse.”
And Coun Bunney said there was a health issue to consider as parents were being encouraged to park and then walk to school, but might not do that if there was a charge.
He added: “Businesses profit from having the first two hours free.
“What savings can be made by managing the current situation better?”
Councillors said another option would be to increase the cost of long term parking to encourage people buy a permit.
Coun Margaret Lakin-Whitworth added: “The survey is online and not a lot of people are online.”
A West Lindsey District Council spokesman previously said: “This is something that the council need to consider as local authorities have had a huge funding cut from central government, so car parking is one way of many in which to recover some of the costs.”