Plans for a residents’ parking permit scheme in Uphill Lincoln have been delayed further as Lincolnshire County Councillors seek further information.
The authority’s Planning and Regulation Committee on Monday voted to defer plans to offer priority to those who live in the Bailgate area, between Newport and the junction with Westgate, for another look following divisive campaigns by both residents and businesses.
Currently, anyone can park in these areas for an hour between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday, but this would potentially remove 37 spaces from that arrangement.
The measures would mean uphill shoppers would have to find another place to park their vehicles.
Those against the plans said the scheme would deter people from visiting the area and pose a threat to the viability of businesses, putting livelihoods at risk and leading to the closure of many of the shops in the area.
They have been backed by organisations such as Visit Lincoln and the Federation of Small Businesses.
However, those in support say the area is mainly residential and that the current parking offer discriminates against those living there. They said there were “numerous car parks in the area”.
A report before councillors said residents were often forced to park some distance from their homes and that the lack of available spaces reduced property values.
Council officers said the scheme had “proved very divisive” and “had a negative impact on the relationship between residents and businesses”.
The council had received 33 responses in support of the scheme and 59 against.
Due to the “very polarised” response, officers put forward three recommendations, including going ahead with the plan, abandoning it all together and carrying out further work to identify alternative proposals.
Local member Councillor Karen Lee (Labour) supported residents, relaying the stories of two healthcare workers and elderly residents.
“People who live in many of the streets near to Bailgate have all been awarded parking permits, so it’s really no wonder the residents I’m representing today feel they have been treated very unfairly for wanting the same,” she said.
She said fears that businesses would fail were “speculative” and had “no independent and robust evidence”.
“At the end of the day, when the visitors have returned to their own homes and when the tills have been cashed up and the shopkeepers have returned to their own homes, who’s actually left in that area? And the simple answer to that is the local residents,” she said.
Councillors were told there would potentially be around 100 residents competing for the 37 spaces.
Councillor Tom Ashton said he had some “serious concern” with the proposals which he appreciated were “in one of the prime tourist areas”.
“It doesn’t seem to be a scheme which is going to solve enough of the problem. I appreciate it is difficult for the people who are living there, but it feels to me that there are probably other solutions out there which the city of Lincoln Council might be able to help with.”
Councillor Paula Ashleigh-Morris said it was “massively important we get this absolutely right” and asked for a site visit.
“We’re going to be on a damned if you do damned if you don’t, but I would appreciate a look,” she said.
She said there had already been a long wait, so a short-while longer would not hurt.
Councillor Ian Carrington said there were “clearly very passionate views” on the plans.
“If we only favour one group at the expense of all those other groups, we don’t have a mixed solution, and then I think we are disadvantaging people and potentially doing so very seriously. What we need is a compromise,” he said.
Councillors voted in favour of a recommendation to both find further solutions and to carry out a site visit in order to better understand the situation.