July 19, 2021 1.34 pm This story is over 34 months old

Beauty spot parking issues “will continue” despite council’s proposed solutions

People with a newfound enjoyment of the countryside have been blocking a local farmer’s vehicles

Councillors have approved new markings and signage near a Grantham village beauty spot in a bid to tackle problem parking, however, campaigners say more is needed.

Farmer Steve Elnor, along with guests at his glamping site, have frequently found their vehicles and machinery blocked by parked cars on West Street, in Barkston.

The issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown, which has encouraged people to go walking and discover new locations to enjoy themselves.

Councillor Ray Wootten, along with the parish council and MPs had asked for extra parking spaces to be installed after Mr Elnor found his way blocked on several occasions, and had been supported by two previous scrutiny committees.

However, Lincolnshire County Council’s Highways Scrutiny Committee on Monday instead voted to install new H Bars along the verge – despite them not being enforceable – and increase the signage at passing places to emphasise the No Parking rules.

Councillors were told that to provide extra car parking spaces would cost between £30-40,000 and was not allocated in the budget.

Even the proposed solution was too much for some, with Councillor Kevin Clarke calling it “overkill”, while Councillor Thomas Dyer and others had concerns the council would “set a precedent” for similar issues elsewhere in the county.

More and more people have been parking on the road since COVID-19 restrictions were brought in. | Photo: Supplied

The latter called for more data on the issue, particularly outside of COVID-lockdown, while others raised concerns over people being injured.

Councillor Stephen Roe spoke in support of the proposals, acknowledging that it was “not just a problem since COVID, it was prior to this and COVID just made it even worse”.

Councillors approved the measures six votes to four.

Following the meeting Councillor Ray Wootten thanked councillors for their support but said the issue would continue until more parking was provided at the beauty spot which includes a set of stepping stones over the River Witham.

“What I [and others] wanted was extra parking spaces to cope with the increased numbers going down there due to COVID-restrictions, which although they have now ended, people will continue to go down there now they have discovered it.

“I believe that in the future I will be calling on the committee again to provide further action.”

The vehicles are also tearing up the mud at the side of the road. | Photo: Supplied

Farmer Mr Elnor, who installed the passing places himself as part of his planning permission for his clamping site, said he understood there was not much money in the part but added: “I hoped there might be other facts or reasons to justify this being done.”

He said it was positive news people were willing to travel, by car, to the location and that they might now make it part of there longer day out, and added that the exercise people was getting would be good for their physical and mental health.

Even on Sunday, as people looked forward to restrictions lifting, he said there had been a “significant” number of people and that visitor numbers were was “a long way to go yet”.

“I don’t have a problem with people coming, using and enjoying the countryside,” he said, revealing he was even hoping to sell pumpkins to visitors this October.

“As a farmer it’s an opportunity for people to get increased appreciation of what we’re doing and get that little bit closer to farming.

“I’m not a “get off my land” merchant, I just want to be able to get past”.