Ambitious plans are underway to ease Horncastle’s controversial parking problems and give a much needed boost to the town’s economy.
There has been months of complaints about car parking in the town with residents and business owners claiming an increase in charges - and over zealous enforcement officers - are forcing visitors away.
Now, the town’s Federation of Small Businesses is the driving force behind two separate schemes which they say would attract trade.
They want to see the current time restriction for on-street parking increased from one to two hours.
Flo Moore, the Federation’s recently appointed chairman, is also calling for a ‘token’ based scheme to be introduced in the Market Place.
Under the proposals, people would still pay to park in the Market Place but they would receive a token as well as a ticket.
The token could then be taken to local shops and the parking charge would be fully refunded - depending on a minimum spend of £5.
If the scheme is a success, the Federation hopes it will be rolled out to other car parks, including St Lawrence Street.
A similar scheme already runs successfully in The Bain car park for Tesco customers.
Mrs Moore told the News: “There has been months and months of negativity about car parking in Horncastle.
“There’s absolutely no point everyone just carrying on moaning, groaning and complaining.
“It is a big issue and we’ve decided to try and do something positive about it.”
Mrs Moore revealed talks had already started with Lincolnshire County Council about the time limit proposal.
It would impact on vehicles parking on Church Lane, Wharf Road and North Street.
She said the initial response from the County Council had been encouraging.
Mrs Moore added she was hoping to attract key support from Horncastle’s County Councillor Bill Aron - and from the Town Council.
She said: “I’ve spoken to the County Council and they are not against the idea.
“They have said they will send someone to Horncastle to meet us and see what is possible. It is encouraging.
“I’ve also spoken to Coun Aron and he was suppportive. Hopefully, the Town Council will get behind us .”
Mrs Moore said that while the Federation would push for a two-hour limit, it would be open to the introduction of 90 minute parking.
She added: “Hopefully, two hours - or 90 minutes - free parking would attract more people.
“We are not making the most of the everything the town has to offer and one of the reasons seems to be parking issues.”
The scheme for the Market Place would need the approval of East Lindsey District Council who are responsbile for off-street car parks.
Mrs Moore, who owns a High Street shop, said she hoped businesses would back the idea.
She is in the process of contactacting ELDC and is waiting for feedback.
She added: “It (tokens) works in the Bain so why not in the Market Place? It’s got to be worth trying.”