Restore free parking? Not in Woodhall say councillors

Car parking
Car parking

A parish council has controversially suggested revenue from car parking could be ploughed into its own pockets - if it has to take on responsibility for delivering more services.

Woodhall Spa Parish Council says it is opposed to any plans to re-introduce free parking in the village.

Councillors say that one of the reasons behind their decision is the likelihood they will have to pay for services which are currently the responsibility of East Lindsey District Council.

They say that rather than hike council tax bills to raise extra funds to pay for services, town and parish councils could receive the revenue generated by ELDC owned car parks.

ELDC is currently finalising plans to re-introduce free parking in several towns and villages - including Woodhall Spa and Horncastle.

The move - following a raft of complaints from businesses and residents - comes at the same time as the district council has warned it could hand over some services to town and parish councils as it looks to save £6million over the next four years.

Councillors in Woodhall say they are worried about the financial burden of taking on more responsibility.

Speaking at a parish council meeting, Coun Graham Keegan suggested car parking revenue could help ease the impact.

He said: “Why don’t we run the car parks and benefit from the revenue - rather than it going to ELDC?

“If we are going to have to run more services, it would be better than putting up council tax.”

Parish council chairman David Clarke supported the idea but warned it was important to consider who would pay for car park maintenance and any enforcement officers.

Councillors discussed other concerns about re-instating free parking in the ELDC-owned car parks in Royal Square and Station Road.

They said parking bays were often occupied all day by people who worked in the village - or who travelled by bus to Lincoln to shop.

Several councillors commented that the current regulations - which allow two hours’ free parking - were ‘more than adequate’.

Coun Keegan agreed free parking was often ‘abused’ and had a negative effect on trade.

Many business owners in Woodhall have previously called for a return of free parking.