August 10, 2022 11.43 am This story is over 22 months old

County reverses decision to remove Louth disabled bays

Opponents say there is still more to do

Lincolnshire County Council has reversed a decision to remove two disabled parking bays on Louth High Street, on the eve of a meeting about controversial plans for the area.

However, campaigners against the plans for the Louth Active Travel Scheme say the gathering at the Royal British Legion tonight (Tuesday) at 7pm will still go ahead as there are still concerns and issues with the scheme.

The bays were taken away from Mercer Row as part of a bid to improve pedestrian and cycle access to the town as well as promote a cafe culture style area in the Cornmarket.

The scheme, an 18-month long trial, saw the restriction of traffic along Mercer Row to create a larger pedestrianised area feeding into the Cornmarket.

It began in March following a near year long consultation by LCC and has sparked a fierce backlash from local businesses and residents who say it prohibited the disabled and elderly from parking within walking distance of shops.

East Lindsey District Council has also called for a review of the scheme, saying it was concerned the scheme would have a “detrimental impact” on the town’s “reputation as an accessible and bustling market town, as well as the management and communication of the initiative”.

Workers put the bays back on Tuesday. | Image: LCC

Following the reinstatement of the bays, Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “As part of the initial changes we made to Louth’s town centre as part of our Active Travel trial, we temporarily removed two disabled bays on Mercer Row to make extra space on the road.

“However, following the feedback we’ve received from local people, one of our highways teams visited Louth yesterday evening to reinstate these two bays so blue-badge holders can park on Mercer Row again.”

He stressed the council were continuing to listen to concerns and that the scheme “remains an experimental trial”.

“Before making any decisions about whether to make any of these changes permanent, we will engage with local people,” he said, adding that the council would continue to adjust the scheme as needed.

Mercer Row in Louth as it looked with the Active Travel Scheme installed. | Photo: Kristian Chamberlain

Louth Town and East Lindsey District Councillor Andrew Leonard, who has organised tonight’s meeting, however, said the council had not gone far enough.

“It’s interesting, all you have to do is call a meeting and you get action,” he said.

“They have put a sticking plaster on it… but one swallow does not make a summer,” he said.

“It doesn’t go far enough or address the problem properly.”

He called on the council to start listening better to people’s criticisms.

A spokesperson from East Lindsey District Council said the authority welcomed  the reinstatement of the disabled spaces and a commitment for further consultation.

“It is right that the County Council explore ways to improve the shopping experience in our market towns as we also do as a district council, but it is also sensible to adopt a pragmatic approach when elements of a trial appear not to be working as planned,” they said.

“East Lindsey District Council continues to put in place its action plan for all market towns across the district to support businesses and help boost the local economy.”

For more information visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/activetravel and to feedback on the scheme email [email protected].