July 4, 2022 3.01 pm This story is over 23 months old

Businesses elated yet residents disappointed by Lincoln Bailgate parking decision

Last minute switch saw plans dropped

Businesses in Lincoln’s Bailgate are “delighted” and “elated” after planned resident parking changes were dropped by the council at the eleventh hour.

However, councillors representing the area said residents would be “disappointed” by the news.

Lincolnshire County Council on Monday voted to drop two proposals for changes to the permit scheme along the Bailgate, which would have increased residents parking, but decreased the amount available to shoppers.

Chairman Ian Fleetwood called the area “jewel in the crown” of the city and that it was a “sensitive” decision as he put forward “Option C” – doing nothing – at the last minute.

Nicola Lockwood, owner of Bells Tea Shop and chairwoman of the Bailgate Area Guild, said: “We can’t believe it, we are in shock!

“I just feel for all the businesses and all our customers who supported us and have been behind us all the way through this.”

She said if the changes had occurred it would have seen businesses – already affected by other changes, the internet and COVID – close.

She warned fast-food chains were “already circling looking for anyone who wants to throw in the towel” – however, it is not known which chain this is.

Michelle Guest, who owns a childrens’ shoe shop, said she was “totally relieved, delighted.

“They’ve seen what we’re up against, they’ve seen exactly how it will impact the area and how it will impact the businesses.”

She said casual shoppers and visitors would have been most affected along with those who were less mobile. She claims having spaces on the street deterred people from going to out-of-town facilities.

Josie Rossington, who has run Folly for 18 years, said she was “absolutely elated”.

“We had so much support… far ranging, all from the bottom of Steep Hill to Newport.” They included a 7,000 signature petition.

“The amount of times we were told ‘they’re not locals’… it doesn’t matter where they come from, it would have affected everybody.”

“There are literally businesses that will not go under now because of this. It sounds very dramatic but it’s been a dramatic time which has affected everyone in lots of different ways.”

However, Carholme Councillor Rob Parker, whose ward covers part of the area affected, said residents would be “disappointed” by the decision.

“They put forward a lot of good, sound arguments about the need for residents’ parking in that part of the world, but unfortunately the planning committee didn’t agree.

“It’s surprising because the needs of the residents need to be considered just as much as the needs of businesses.”.

He said there would need to be “some form of review” in the future and that he, along with residents, would be examining whether another case could be brought with more evidence “to show how much residents are affected by not being able to park close to their own homes.”

He said many were already having to park further away from their homes due to other permit schemes being changed to omit them.

Ermine and Cathedral Ward Member Karen Lee said the scheme should have been “about fairness”.

“There are a couple of residents who are elderly and need space for their carers to park daily.

“There’s a woman who’s an acute practitioner, there’s somebody who’s a paramedic – there are all sorts of different people who wanted residents’ parking for very good reasons, and I didn’t think that committee gave that any thought whatsoever. They simply focused on the businesses.”

She said there was “plenty of parking” available with free parking available.

In response to the argument that people who bought their houses knew what they were paying for, she said: “in this day and age do we really think like that, that nothing should ever change and no one should ever reconsider a position and think well, actually, is that right? Because I don’t think that is right.”

The planning meeting in progress. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Ian Fleetwood said the decision was fair and listened to both sides of the community.

“Both the residents and businesses have put forward strong points of view… I believe it’s not a good time to move things forward,” he said.

“At the moment, there is a scheme in place. I don’t know if people are enjoying it or not, but it is a scheme that has been working for a period of time.

“If indeed there is an absolute need to change it. Well, that’s a good time to go, but at this moment in time, I don’t believe it’s the case.”

He said if circumstances changed there would be a case for a further review, however, did not see that happening in the short term.