West Lindsey District Council has stressed it is planning to invest in Market Rasen amid claims the introduction of parking charges is a ‘huge mistake’.
As revealed in this week’s Rasen Mail, almost two thirds of business owners fear the charges will harm the long-term prospects of their firms.
They were responding to a survey carried out by campaigner Guy Grainger.
More than 50 business people took part in Mr Grainger’s survey which produced some starting results including:
*two businesses reported customers were now choosing to shop after parking charges cease at 3 pm
*one business reported a change in staffing levels - and the hours they are required to work.
Mr Grainger said the findings were ‘shocking’.
He said: “These responses indicate that parking charges have so far resulted in a noticeable decline in overall business activity within the town centre.
“West Lindsey has made a huge mistake in bringing in these charges.
“Can WLDC actually show that the money that they are making is worth the damage being caused to the town?”
Darren Lince, owner of the Advocate Arms Hotel, said the ‘negative impact’ on businesses ‘ will get worse’.
He said: “There has been a massive reduction in the number of cars in the car park.
“It will be interesting to find out what revenue this is providing to WLDC versus the expense of running the system and paying for parking enforcement officers.
“As a collective of businesses, we need to keep the pressure on WLDC so they can see what a poor decision has been made.”
Mr Gainger also claimed the district council favoured Gainsborough over Market Rasen in terms of investment.
However, WLDC issued a statement saying new investment in leisure provision is under consideration for the town.
Director of Economic and Commercial Growth, Eve Fawcett-Moralee said: “WLDC is exploring exciting new plans to deliver sports and leisure facilities in the town.
“We have been aware for some time that there is a need for leisure development in Market Rasen. Initial feasibility work has shown that the town could support a dry leisure facility.
“However, all councils are operating in very economically challenging times. We need to make sure that any business case demonstrates the need for any facility to be self-funding.
“With regards to the parking charges in Market Rasen, the council has already committed to review the strategy six months after the charges were introduced.
“This is still scheduled to take place.”