Over 300 people have signed a petition to save Bailgate parking after a public consultation started over the council’s proposed residents’ permit scheme.
The changes were previously requested by residents and would mean that residents will have parking priority between Newport and the junction with Westgate, where anyone can currently park for an hour.
It would mean uphill shoppers would have to find somewhere else to leave their vehicles and business owners in uphill Lincoln fear the planned changes could see shops losing crucial trade.
A petition was launched over the weekend by Bailgate Area Guild who voiced their concerns about the issue.
This comes after The Guild, which is made up of all the businesses in uphill Lincoln, asked customers to fill out a survey last year about their parking experiences which gained over 900 responses.
Research done by The Guild estimated that each parking space generates at least £400 towards the local economy every day and £146,000 over a year, which they say is over £2.5 million in total.
Nicola Lockwood, who owns Bells Tea Room and is also the Chair of the Guild, told The Lincolnite that it is “critical” that the parking situation is left unchanged, or it would have a “major impact on the whole of uphill Lincoln”.
She said there are more properties than there are parking spaces, so she would be very concerned if the proposals came to fruition and changed the current parking situation.
Pharmacy F.P. Watson has been trading under its current name since 1901 and said the Bailgate area is like a “village within a city”.
She said: “A lot of people pick up their prescriptions from us and then go to other local shops, so it would be too far for them to walk (if parking doesn’t stay as it is) and it will affect trade.
“I think the residents should be offered permits for nearby car parks instead.
“I genuinely think that because we’re not near a doctor’s surgery, for this to happen would severely disrupt us and completely compromise us a business.”
Josie Rossington, who owns Follie, said: “I started my business here 17 years ago, and this area of Lincoln has developed into a welcoming, vibrant one, full of character.
“The mix of independent businesses together with all of the history and architecture makes it an experience like nowhere else.
“It goes without saying that everyone has been through tough times recently, but the thought of this parking scheme & the long term detrimental effects it will cause is quite devastating.
“We don’t just rely on tourists or the Christmas Market, Bailgate is a thriving, busy, friendly area, open to everyone all year round.”
The Guild is “extremely concerned about the possibility of the number of free, 1-hour, car parking spaces on Bailgate being significantly reduced for use by members of the public”.
On the petition page, The Guild said: “As it is highly likely that permit holders will outnumber spaces, members of The Bailgate Area Guild believe the spaces will be used continuously by residents and thus will no longer be available for anyone else.
“The shops and services in Uphill Lincoln are the equivalent to a village high street or a local shopping centre such as Birchwood Shopping Centre or The Forum, where shoppers can park for free to access their local services.
“The potential loss of income will have a major impact on local businesses on Bailgate and throughout uphill Lincoln.
“Many business owners are worried that their business may not survive such a major blow.
“We are lucky in Lincoln to have a vibrant, independent, historic area for all to enjoy, but this potential loss of free parking could sadly change uphill Lincoln forever.
“The business owners are not seeking to change anything, we simply want to keep the parking as it is for all to take advantage of.”
The petition states that views on the matter can be emailed to [email protected] for the attention of D O’Neill by Friday, November 6, or sent in writing to Lincolnshire County Council, Highways Services, Minor Works and Traffic Team, County Offices, Newland, Lincoln, LN1 1YL.
After a public consultation by the county council, a decision will then made and The Guild hope their petition can help to influence what happens.
Jeanne Gibson, Programme Leader – Minor Works and Traffic at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “A request to look at incorporating permit-only resident parking in the Bailgate came to us from City of Lincoln Council in 2018.
“After some initial outreach with the residents in the area in 2019, we found that the majority would support this.
“As a result, proposals were developed. These were originally meant to be consulted on last spring, but this was delayed until now due to COVID.
“No formal decision has been made on these yet. Once our current consultation is complete at the end of November, the proposals and consultation findings will be presented to our Planning and Regulation Committee in early 2022 – when a decision on how to proceed will be made.”
Simon Walters, Director for Communities and Environment at City of Lincoln Council, said: “Some time ago, residents in uphill Lincoln approached city and county councillors asking if it would be possible for residents’ parking to be explored for their area.
“Lincolnshire County Council launched a consultation with uphill residents to examine the appetite for such a scheme in the area. This came back with a majority in favour of pursuing a residents’ parking scheme.
“The onset of the covid pandemic prevented the county council moving to the next stage until now. Their current consultation is a technical one related to how such a scheme would work.
“We understand that once the consultation is complete, a report will go to Lincolnshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation committee for its members to make a final decision on whether or not to implement residents’ parking in the area.”
Are you a Bailgate resident or shop owner? How do you feel about the proposal? Email us at [email protected].