Lincoln parking meters plans rejected

Plans to introduce on-street pay and display parking in Lincoln have been rejected by a Lincolnshire County Council scrutiny committee.

The council has to take over parking enforcement powers from Lincolnshire Police, and to help pay the £1 million needed for this, pay and display parking across the centre of Lincoln was proposed.

Under the plans, streets in city and town centres across Lincolnshire would have installed pay and display parking meters for up to 500 short stay bays.

However, a Lincolnshire County Council Highways, Transport & Technology Scrutiny Committee meeting on June 27 opposed this way of funding the project.

Councillor Eddie Strengiel, Conservative member for Lincoln Birchwood, said he’s “fully against it”.

Strengiel proposed the committee rejects the specific pay and display plans, which form part of the wider move to Civil Parking Enforcement. The committee supported this proposal.

In his forceful rebuttal, Strengiel said the council should “explore other ways” of funding.

He said that while he understands the difficulty and need to find cash in “these austere times”, the Bailgate area in particular would be hit hard, which is already “suffering its own austere times”.

Councillor Robert Parker, the Leader of the Labour group at the County Council and member for Lincoln West, spoke at the committee meeting, though he isn’t a member, arguing that the parking charges would have a negative effect on local businesses.

“One of the responsibilities of the council is to give competitive advantage to businesses,” Parker said. “We need to be protecting businesses as much as we can.”

He added that City of Lincoln Council could suffer a direct loss of revenue from its own pay and display car park near the city centre.

Councillor Kevin Clarke, Labour member for Lincoln Boultham, said residents as well as businesses will be “inconvenienced”.

He argues that the city centre’s surrounding residential areas, some of which benefit from free parking, would be “chocablock with cars” trying to avoid parking charges.

Lincolnshire County Council has a “duty to provide residents with free parking to all areas in Lincoln”, he said, if pay and display charges were introduced in the city centre.

— Later update: The authority is now looking for alternative ways to fund the £1.2 million annual running costs of Civil Parking Enforcement, which it takes on from the police.

On-street parking charges had been proposed as the best alternative in itself, after the county and district councils couldn’t reach an initial agreement last year which would have seen joint operation and funding towards the service.

Councillor William Webb, Executive Member for Highways and Transport, said:

“Whilst other councils in the country are funding their new Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) responsibility via Pay and Display, we fully accept the committee’s decision today and understand the concerns about implementing this in Lincolnshire.

“However, the county council still needs to find £1.2 million each year to run CPE.

“Potential income from fines is only estimated to recoup less than two-thirds of that, so Pay and Display had been calculated to provide the difference. We now need to find this remainder from elsewhere.”

Photo: Samantha Fisher for The Lincolnite | Related Report: BBC Lincolnshire