Councillors scrap ELDC car park buy-out scheme

Parking issues in Woodhall Spa
Parking issues in Woodhall Spa

Parish councillors in Woodhall Spa have shelved an idea to ‘buy back’ the cost of parking charges from East Lindsey District Council.

The parish council has set up a Car Parking Working Group in an attempt to solve on-going issues in the village.

Working Group chairman Coun Richard Sanderson said ELDC’s controversial decision to introduce charges last year was the “root cause” for an increase in problems.

The Working Group has produced a report which suggested that if every household in Woodhall Spa had £3.50 added to their annual council tax bill, it would cover any profit generated by ELDC from the two car parks it owns in the village.

However, Coun Sanderson’s suggestion received a luke-warm response from fellow parish councillors.

Council chairman David Clarke said he doubted whether residents would be prepared to pay an extra charge to cover the cost of visitors parking for free.

Coun Clarke, speaking at the parish council’s monthly meeting, said: “I don’t think this would be a very popular idea, even if ELDC would go for it, which I very much doubt.

“I’d look forward to you (Coun Sanderson) sending out the letters to residents explaining why they are paying extra for other people to park for free.”

Coun Sanderson told the meeting he estimated ELDC would make a profit of around £7,000-a-year from the two car parks.

He said the £3.50 ‘fee’ would cover that.

However, ELDC deputy leader Craig Leyland - who was at the meeting - said the proposal did not take business rates of £7,000 on each car park into account, or annual maintenance costs.

He also suggested ELDC would be reluctant to accept the idea.

Councillors also vetoed another of Coun Sanderson’s suggestions, that additional car parking could be made available by tidying areas of woodland off King George Road and Coronation Avenue.

Coun Lucy Wells said cars parking in established woodland would spoil the “whole ambience” of Woodhall Spa.

Coun Sanderson said a number of old and fallen trees could be cleared away, creating extra room.

Councillors were told one of the biggest problems in Woodhall Spa was shop owners and workers parking all day outside businesses in Station Road and Spa Road.

Coun Sanderson also revealed people parked on roadsides to catch the bus into Lincoln - rather than paying car park charges.

Coun Sanderson said suggested for a ‘name and praise’ scheme, which would see businesses sign up and pledge to park in other locations.

Councillors agreed to carry out additional research into whether the name and praise scheme was viable.

Coun Clarke said the council should adopt a ‘name and shame’ scheme instead, identifying businesses who added to on-street parking problems.

Coun Sanderson said positive action had to be taken tackle parking problems which were having a detrimental effect on the village, which relies heavily on tourism.

He added that introducing time restrictions - enforced by traffic wardens - was the ‘last resort.’

Several councillors said ELDC needed to do more to make vehicle owners aware that from April, the first two hours in car parks will be free of charge.