ELDC parking charge review missed ‘golden chance’

Steve Newton - Car Parking in Horncastle
Steve Newton - Car Parking in Horncastle

East Lindsey District Council’s long-awaited review of controversial car parking charges missed a golden chance to restore public confidence in the system.

That is the damning verdict of a member of the council’s own scrutiny committee which spent months looking at the parking charges.

Councillor Sandra Campbell-Wardman described serving on the committee as a ‘complete nightmare.’

Speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council, she said committee members had ‘done the’ best they could.’

However, she admitted the council still had not got sections of its parking policy right - and by what she termed as a ‘long way.’

Coun Campbell-Wardman also said that if ELDC lost revenue from car parking, it would have to take money from somewhere else.

A raft of changes were brought in by ELDC last year which saw charges increased at some car parks and introduced for the first time at others.

The authority promised a full review and a cross-party scrutiny committee reported back to the council’s executive last week.

Many people were hoping parking charges would be either relaxed - or scrapped all together.

However, the council retained the charges but did opt to increase the period for free parking.

Coun Campbell-Wardman claimed some of the scrutiny committee’s initial recommendations had been overlooked.

She added: “I can understand why people are unhappy. I am but I can honestly say that as a committee, we did our very best to sort things out.

“It was a nightmare to you the truth. Certain things still aren’t right - not by a long way. Perhaps there will be another review in 12 months.”

Coun Campbell-Wardman admitted the increase in free parking in Horncastle Market Place would satisfy requests by officials at St Mary’s Church.

They had complained that under the previous system, people could not park for long enough to attend services.

However, she questioned the decision to carry on charging for parking at 
The Wong - and plans to cater for mobile homes and a pay-by-phone system.

She said ELDC should have considered a ‘pay on exit’ parking system that would enable people to browse town centre shops, without having to worry about exceeding time limits.

Town councillor Maurice Lamb called for ELDC to introduce free parking on a trial basis on market days.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson said the fact the only free car park in the area was at ELDC’s Manby headquarters was ‘disgusting.’

He said the review had failed to standardise parking across the district because Horncastle still did not have any free town centre car parking, unlike Woodhall Spa.

Coun Wilkinson also condemned ELDC’s new style parking machines and said they should be scrapped and ‘taken to Riddel’s.’