FEARS that parking enforcement changes could spell a ‘rocky time’ for Skegness businesses have been allayed by the authority in charge.
Lincolnshire County Council has submitted an application to introduce civil enforcement on street parking throughout the county, taking over responsibility from the police force’s traffic wardens.
The central government recommended transfer is expected to take effect this autumn and is hoped to create ‘a more consistent approach to help keep people on the move and make sure local businesses are supported.’
However, in towns such as Bridlington, businesses, residents and councillors say the introduction of civil parking enforcement is ‘killing the town’ after the number of parking tickets issued increased dramatically.
They claim the more regimented approach to enforcement is driving visitors and residents away from shopping areas and stifling business.
Chairman of the Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce Glenis Brown fears the scheme’s introduction in Lincolnshire could be ‘bad news’ for businesses in Skegness too. She said: “I understand they have taken a private firm on to do the job, which I don’t think is very good news for us because we rely on drawing people in not driving them away. If it’s someone who is sympathetic to our area that’s one thing but if it’s a company who are driven by profit that’s bad news.
“I think we could be heading for trouble and a lot of dissatisfaction and I’m not looking forward to it.”
Although Mrs Brown recognises the importance of complying with street parking regulations, she is concerned that a private company may implement a more officious policy to meet targets than their traffic warden predecessors who she feels were more lenient with minor violations.
In areas such as Lumely Road and Roman Bank, for which she feels street parking is their ‘lifeblood’ anything that could drive visitors away could be dangerous.
However the head of highways at LCC Brian Thompson has explained that although there could be an increase in tickets issued, the enforcement officers will apply common sense and those who adhere to the law will have nothing to fear.
He said: “It’s not right that someone could selfishly park all day in a bay outside a butchers shop for example that has a 30 minute waiting restriction. We’ll have around 20 enforcement officers, working shifts across the county in hotspot areas, who will apply common sense when issuing tickets. With only two people currently fulfilling this role, there could be an increase in tickets issued, but ideally we don’t want to issue any at all. We’re sure residents would agree with us that we’d just like motorists to stick to the law.”