West Lindsey District Council has given the strongest indication yet that it may not go ahead with a controversial plan to charge for car parking in Market Rasen.
The full council met to discuss a 2,633-signature petition against the move, which would see pay and display machines introduced at John Street, Festival Hall and Kilnwell Road car parks.
Residents and business owners fear the scheme will lead to a further drop in footfall and more shop closures.
And now a number of councillors at the latest meeting have backed the petition, saying parking charges would ‘harm’ the town and that this was ‘not the answer’ to its current problems.
Councillors generally felt that further research needed to be undertaken and more statistical evidence obtained.
Ahead of the debate, WLDC councillor for Market Rasen Tom Smith read out a statement from businessman Adrian Campbell, who started the petition.
This stated: “More research needs to be done on the likely effect of the measures.”
Mr Campbell’s statement appealed to the council to reinstate the consultation process.
And two residents addressed the meeting, telling councillors parking charges would “finish traders’ businesses” and that charges were being removed in other areas as this was felt more attractive to passing trade.
The minutes from the meeting state: “A number of councillors supported the content of the petition and felt that the imposition of charging in the car parks would harm Market Rasen and this was not the answer to current problems. It was generally felt that further research needed to be undertaken and more statistical evidence obtained.”
A report by West Lindsey District Council officers says that the scheme will generate additional income for the council and increase the turnover of car parking spaces in the town.
The move is estimated to generate an additional £50k for the council.
But pay and display would cost £65,000 to put into action.
And there would also be an ongoing annual cost of £31,000 to cover things such as enforcement, operating and regular maintenance.
Charges would range from 30p for up to one hour to £1.95 for six or more hours.
And the council says there would be free parking after 3pm.
Councillors resolved that the matter should be considered by the prosperous communities committee at its next meeting.
The date of this meeting is not yet available.
The full council meeting took place at The Guildhall, Gainsborough on Monday, July 4.