LETTER: Parking is not the problem in Horncastle

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My heart sank when I read in last week’s paper yet another letter from Mr Richard Ingram-Hill re car parking in Horncastle and titled “Damaging town economy”.

I regard Richard as a friend but am absolutely dismayed by his negative attitude to Horncastle. I own three retail businesses in the town which I am proud to say are successful. As far as I am aware there is only one retail outlet to rent in town and one for sale due to retirement which is still occupied.

Both the Thursday and Saturday markets have more stalls than we have seen for many years – are these indications of a damaged retail economy? I also know Hemswell Antique Centres and on Sundays you are charged to park and even to go into some of the centres. I use several of the coffee/cafes in town and they seem to be busy – have the owners any comments to make in response to Richard’s comment? – “the one that enjoys constant busy trade from visitors driving into town is the one with its own private car park”.

Car parking charges are an issue not only in our market town but throughout the country if not the world. The internet is a fantastic tool but it is altering our shopping habits and I think retail outlets will decline but hopefully towns will evolve as they have for centuries, maybe into more social gathering places.

I have had some thoughts on parking charges. It isn’t a problem to park free in Horncastle on a side street but maybe not fair on the residents. People should be able to nip into a shop, bank post office etc for a quick errand without fear of a ticket so lets have an area for example St Lawrence Street car park with barriers and if you stop longer than 30 minutes you pay on exit.

I think The Bain car park would generate more income by charging less for longer. Town centre employers and employees do need somewhere to park other than on street, but I can understand discouraging them from the car parks nearest to the town centre so maybe The Wong could be on an annual charge and The Bain car park could be say £2 for 3 hours discouraging on street parking and maybe increasing revenue and certainly increasing the time spent in town, hopefully adding to Horncastle’s economy.

We did have a traffic warden who didn’t seem to understand that you could park, go away for an hour and then return. You could not have a conversation with him but he appears to have moved on and I find our present warden very approachable. I still haven’t seen a parking ticket on the mobile police station which parks ON the pavement at the entrance to The Bain car park. Perhaps they can’t afford the car parking charges.

We are a tourist area why haven’t we got a bus park or bigger spaces in the car parks for motorhomes or cars towing caravans? The Admiral Rodney Hotel has a regular group of Americans who arrive by bus which can’t access their car park easily hence the driver parked on The Bain car park and then on the industrial estate but on both occasions his firm was notified by post that they could not park in these places and when ELDC were asked where they could park they didn’t receive a reply.

The bus bringing tourists from our twin town has nowhere to park – is this encouraging tourism? I allow them to park at The Trinity. I know bus parking has been under discussion for a long time but we only need a couple of spaces could these not be allocated on The Wong – more action less discussion.

Please can we stop the constant negativity in our press directed at our town and our councillors. Is it the curse of The Richards? We have a lovely and in my opinion thriving, friendly market town with a successful summer market and festival as well as the ever popular SO festival and Christmas market.

Richard and I will remain friends and I am sure we will have many more discussions which I hope will not be featured in the press.

Clare Boam

North Street, Horncastle