Businesses in Spilsby are welcoming proposals that could see the period of free parking extended in the town centre.
East Lindsey District Council has announced a number of radical changes across the district to redirect the focus from its ‘one size fits all’ policy to introducing ones tailor made to local economies.
For Spilsby this could mean the half hour free parking now allowed at the Market Place, Buttercross and Post Office Lane car parks is extended to one hour.
However, a cap of two hours would be put on the car parking in Boston Road, which is currently free all day. Evening parking charges would not be affected.
Concern from local businesses that car parking charges have driven trade away from the town centre has been expressed on many occasions. This is backed by the review undertaken by ELDC, in which data indicates Spilsby has the lowest take-up of parking places across inland market towns.
Simon’s Butchers, in Market Street, is close to the Buttercross Car Park. Owner Simon Johnson said: “People don’t like paying for parking. You see them driving round and round looking for a free space at the side of the road.
“The car parks have been a cash cow for East Lindsey. One hour free parking will certainly benefit the town – every little helps.”
Mark Tong, owner of hardware store Tong E J and Sons in High Street, said: “One hour free? I’d be happy with that.
“It would be a welcome change and I hope it would help strengthen the economy of the town.”
ELDC has produced a comprehensive review of 55 off-street car parks it owns in 14 towns and villages. The council says it has listened to as many people as possible during the consultation period but warns it cannot afford to lose the £1.7 million net income it receives from car parking. Car parks provide 10 per cent of ELDC’s revenue budget and councillors warn without it, services would have to be cut.
Coun Adam Grist, portfolio holder for the rural economy, said: “We have listened closely to the views of local people.”
The proposed changes will go before the council’s Executive Committee next month to be ratified.