A district councillor who was ‘overruled’ when he objected to car parking charges in Market Rasen is putting pressure on the council to extend free hours in the town.
West Lindsey District Council Kelsey Wold member Lewis Strange thinks people should be able to park for free for two hours at any time of day and has warned the council is ‘losing touch’ with the 2,600-plus residents who signed a petition against ‘pay and display’.
Back in the summer the council’s prosperous communities committee voted to implement charges ranging from 30p for an hour to £1.95 for six or more hours - with fees due to come into force in weeks.
Speaking at WLDC’s October full council meeting, Coun Strange said: “My question...is to ask that this council and the prosperous communities committee look again at car park charging in Market Rasen before the implementation is delivered.
“If it is really too late to stop car park charges, then at least adopt the approach of North Lincolnshire and elsewhere, where a visitor can park for two hours free of charge, at any time. This has proved to work in Brigg, which is booming. Would you not agree that we need to work with the businesses and town council of Market Rasen?”
Coun Strange told the meeting shops in the town were already closing and said: “I just feel we are losing touch with our residents in Market Rasen who said ‘no’.”
He added: “Whilst serving on the prosperous communities committee as vice chairman I voiced my opinion that car park charging to the fragile economy would be a mistake, I was overruled.”
Responding to Coun Strange, prosperous communities committee chairman Coun Sheila Bibb said the situation would be reviewed after six months and that charges in Market Rasen would be at half the rate of Gainsborough, with free parking after 3pm.
She said: “The charges are part of an overall strategy regarding car parking charges throughout the district...some businesses in Market Rasen expressed the view that because many people took advantage of the free parking to leave their vehicles there all day there was in fact insufficient turn of vehicles which in turn adversely affected the businesses in Market Rasen.
“The subject of Market Rasen parking charges has been debated at all committees and the current policy reflects the outcome of those deliberations.”