March 28, 2022 3.30 pm

Council apologises after admitting Louth parking changes error

Planters and barriers removed

Lincolnshire County Council has apologised and admitted it made a mistake as it changed gear over a new parking scheme in Louth.

The authority’s “experimental order” which started last week included the removal of on-street parking on Mercer Row and the widening of pedestrian footways as part of an Active Travel Plan to make walking and cycling easier.

However, feedback from businesses and residents have seen it remove barriers and planters on Monday and only close off access to the Cornmarket.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for highways Councillor Richard Davies said: “We’ve listened to what concerns residents and businesses have expressed to us at the start of the scheme and we’re going to make changes in the appropriate way.

“Quite simply, we need to ensure that what we do fits in with the beautiful town that Louth is.

“In the first steps of this plan going live, we’ve not got that quite right and we’re sorry for the confusion that this has led to.

“As with every step of this experimental scheme, we’ve taken notice of feedback and by doing so we’re ready to make changes where appropriate.”

The scheme will last 18 months and Councillor Davies said if it was not wanted at the end it could be “easily” removed.

Prior to the original changes traders in Louth feared they could end their businesses as they tried to keep afloat following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critics don’t believe people will cycle in from the villages and said elderly shoppers could be prevented from accessing the high street.

They fear the plans could wipe out any help they were given during the pandemic.

East Lindsey District and Louth Town Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said the council should have “thought this out better before starting the scheme”.

She said the changes did not take account of the need to deliver to business premises from off street, or customers picking up heavy items.

She said short-stay parking was needed to keep the market towns “vital and viable”.

“We are happy to see cafe culture but it must be done well, not the half-hearted attempt last year and the town only wants the Cornmarket closed from April to the end of September.

“We are asking people to sit out in what is essentially a car park, hardly attractive.”

She added: “The disabled are being disadvantaged, six parking spaces on the Market Place, which are hard to navigate, and only on non-market days is contrary to the disability legislation.

“This is a town with frail, elderly and disabled residents. We must look after them and we must support our businesses too.”

“This is not innovative but a backward step,” she said, calling on the council to carry out proper consultation.