New twist to controversial WLDC decision to pay for parking in Market Rasen

Calls for a group to look at parking charge effect EMN-160808-154644001
Calls for a group to look at parking charge effect EMN-160808-154644001

A Market Rasen businessman is hoping to set up a group to challenge West Lindsey District Council’s controversial decision to implement car parking charges in the town.

Adrian Campbell was one of the leading figures in the campaign against the charges. He set up a petition which attracted more than 2,000 signatures but West Lindsey still went ahead with its plan.

Mr Campbell says businesses in neighbouring East Lindsey reported parking charges were badly affecting them three months after they were introduced and it took three years to get the measures reversed.

His views come as Lincolnshire Chamber of Trade confirmed it would be meeting with WLDC in September to discuss the charges.

October is the month parking meters/machines will be ‘switched on’ by WLDC.

In an email sent to Samantha Mellows from the Chamber of Trade, Mr Campbell says: “I fear that simply waiting to meet WLDC officers will just begin a slow bureaucratic and potentially biassed and deaf process.

“I propose we in Market Rasen form an informal group as soon as possible that might morph into the ‘Town Centre Partnership’ and that we set in motion a research project immediately.”

Mr Campbell revealed offers of financial help had been made and he suggests buying cameras to give feedback on the car parks and main streets.

Mr Campbell says information from the cameras would provide ‘accurate before and after analysis’ of car park use and footfall.

He also suggests businesses could set up an ‘accountancy company’ to report on the impact of the charges.

West Lindsey have said they will hold a review of parking charges after six months

However, Mr Campbell is concerned that prices could even be increased - if the machines don’t generate enough money.

He suggests if information can be produced to show businesses in the town have suffered, charges might be scrapped.

He added : “We need to know what WLDC’s likely reaction would be given that footfall and business takings drop 5%, footfall and business takings drop 15%, meter revenue falls far short of expected, two shops close citing parking charges as the cause or five shops close citing parking charges as the cause.

“In order to be able to show the effect after the meters/machines go in, we need to start measuring now the car park usage, the footfall in the town and the level of trade using a confidential reporting system.”

Mr Campbell says the new group could also look into a key part of WLDC’s policy which promises ‘equality across the district’ and a pledge to ‘maintain and enhance’ Market Rasen.

There has been widespread opposition to West Lindsey’s decision with mayor Coun John Matthews describing it as an ‘atrocity’. Some people have pointed out the charges are cheaper than many towns.