Give us the responsibility for car parks in Horncastle - councillor

The Cattle Market car park at The Wong in Horncastle EMN-161014-155111001
The Cattle Market car park at The Wong in Horncastle EMN-161014-155111001

East Lindsey District Council should consider transferring all car park operations in Horncastle to the town council, it has been claimed.

ELDC is in the middle of a review of its car parks and has asked locals councils for their views on any changes they would like to see implemented.

It follows months of controversy about charges amid what is seen by some as a bias against inland towns like Horncastle in favour of coastal communities like Skegness.

Speaking at a town council meeting last week, Coun Wilkinson said he believed an ideal solution would be ELDC handover responsibility to the town council.

Although Coun Wilkinson broadly welcomed the review - and the possibility of changes to ELDC-owned car parks on Horncastle - he said much of the information the authority wanted was already available from parking machines

He told councillors that information included when car parks were at their busiest and quietest and how long car parks are used for.

As for other questions, Coun Wilkinson said: “Is the amount of parking in Horncastle adequate? Yes.

“Is it in the right location? No.

“Who is the parking used by?

“Any other thoughts you have in relation to controlling and managing car parks? Yes...pass car parks to the Town Council.”

Coun Willkinson went on to remind councillors parking at ELDC’s headquarters at Manby was still free.

He also backed calls for more free parking in Horncastle and better signage to car parks to attract and help more visitors.

Coun Fiona Martin said she particularly wanted ELDC to improve signage to free parking at The Wong.

Coun Martin, who lives near The Wong, said there were times should could not exit her private driveway - because it was blocked by parked vehicles.

She said it was a particular problem on sale days at the nearby Stanhope Hall.

Coun Martin also revealed there were increasing problems with school buses and parents’ cars parking in Mareham Road in the afternoon. She claimed some of the vehicles were parked on double yellow lines and said she was worried it could lead to an accident.

Coun Martin said: “Double yellow lines are there for a reason. There is a very real issue of safety.”

PCSO Nigel Wass, who attended the meeting, said officers would patrol the Mareham Road area and would speak to local schools to remind them about the need for safe parking.

Coun Jonathan Ferrari said that as a business owner, he felt strongly that all car parks could be better signed - particularly for people travelling into Horncastle from Jubilee Way.

Coun Angela Birchall earned widespread support when she said she favoured the introduction of a one hour period of free parking in the Market Place.

Coun Birchall said it was something she had long campaigned for and pointed out free parking would allow people to use local shops.

She was backed by Coun Brian Burbidge although he warned that in such austere times, ELDC might be reluctant to introduce any free parking.

Councillors also went on to discuss measures to control a height barrier on the entrance to the car park at The Wong.

Coun Martin said many market traders were unable to utilise the free car park because their vehicles were too high to pass under the barrier.

Councillors were told the height of the barrier had been set to deter travellers’ from the site.

Councillors voted to pass on all feedback to ELDC ahead of the results of the district-wide review later this year.

ELDC has previously intimated it would consider changes to parking and is prepared to abandon a one-size-fits-all district wide policy.

At the same time, though, ELDC says it cannot afford to sacrifice an annual surplus of around £1.7m from car park operations which - stresses the authority - is used to keep vital frontline services going.

Representatives of ELDC will attend next month’s Town Council meeting when car parking will feature on the agenda.

ELDC’s aar parks in Woodhall Spa, Coningsby and Tattershall would also be affected by any changes.