A former leader of West Lindsey District Council has slammed the authority for its ‘shortsightedness’ in bringing in ‘foolish’ car parking charges in Market Rasen.
Burt Keimach - who is now a Lincolnshire County councillor for the Market Rasen Wolds ward - has warned the move will ‘frighten shoppers away’ and lead to more store closures in the town.
And Coun Keimach is urging Rasen Mail readers to ‘impress’ their views on WLDC.
His comments came after the town’s family-owned Jacques Home Hardware store announced its closure, along with a warning ‘the town is dying’.
Coun Keimach, West Lindsey District Council’s Conservative leader from 2010 to 2013, said:“My commiserations to Mr Jacques who is closing his business in Market Rasen.
“He makes the valid point that car parking charges will decimate the town centre even further.
“It is not so much the actual fee for the parking, but the fine for even a few minutes overstay that will frighten shoppers away.
“When I was leader of West Lindsey I continually resisted such a penny wise and pound foolish measure.
“With falling trade and high rates and rents, more shop owners will follow in the wake of Mr Jacques.
“I would urge readers of the Rasen Mail to impress upon the WLDC administration the shortsightedness of gouging car drivers for the sake of such small gains.”
Parking meters are due to come into force in October in the town’s Festival Hall, John Street and Kilnwell Road car parks.
A report by WLDC officers says the scheme will generate additional income for the council and increase the turnover of spaces.
The move is estimated to make a further £50k for the council but will cost £65,000 to put into action.
And there will also be an ongoing annual £31,000 cost to cover enforcement, operating and maintenance costs.
Charges will range from 30p for up to one hour to £1.95 for six or more hours.
And there will be free parking after 3pm.
A petition against the move attracted more than 2,600 signatures - but West Lindsey District Council still went ahead with its plan.
WLDC prosperous communities committee chairman Coun Sheila Bibb said: “The issue has been carefully considered by several committees and meetings, council workshops, and many ideas, opinions and feedback.
“Many council’s nationally are faced with making tough decisions to cut services or start charging for them due to the reductions in Government grants.
“Our policy at West Lindsey is to make non statutory services nil cost - this helps us to be able to maintain our high level of services across the district.”
Coun Bibb said the council would review the impact of car parking charges six months after the pay and display machines come into force.