A former director of Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) says the district council’s proposal to scrap two hours of free parking is a ‘major concern’ for the town centre.
Advocate Arms owner Darren Lince, who ran the town’s now defunct MR BIG, thinks the best option for West Lindsey District Council would be to admit defeat and get rid of parking meters altogether.
WLDC has started a public consultation over whether to scrap the two hours of free parking - only introduced in December 2017 - or increase the cost of a six day permit from £106.42 to £306 - a massive 187 per cent rise.
The district council says changes are needed to offset substantial cuts in central government funding.
Mr Lince said: “As a business owner, there has been a slight improvement in the number of shoppers on our high street since the introduction of two hours free parking.
“I would have major concerns if the two hours free parking was going to be removed.
“It has been acknowledged by WLDC that this caused further harm to the high street, and to re-introduce this would lead to further decline, more empty shops etc and be counter productive for the local economy.”
Mr Lince said his preferred option would be to increase the annual cost of a parking permit.
He said: “[This would be] on the basis that there is still plenty of places to park in the town free of charge if you are prepared to walk for two minutes after you have parked.
“There should be another option of course, which is to admit that this has been a failure, and that the cost of enforcement is more than the revenue collected and go back to free parking.”
A WLDC spokesman 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. The public have until September to have their say, and then the most significantly chosen option will be considered.”