Gainsborough could get two hours of free parking as part plans to equalise provision across West Lindsey.
The district council is also set to examine halving of its Fixed Penalty Notices in a bid to attract more people into its car parks.
At a meeting of the council’s Prosperous Communities Committee on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Councillor Trevor Young revealed that almost 250 people a month are receiving fines in the districts car parks.
He told members that Gainsborough struggled “week-in, week-out” to attract people into its town centre noting a reduction in what was being offered compared to Market Rasen.
He said the council was “failing miserably” to bring people in.
“On one hand we’re saying in reports that the offer is poor in terms of shops, but if you are going to use the car parks we’re going to make sure that actually any chance we possibly can we’re going to slap a FPN on you.
“There’s an increase [in FPNs], and I’d like to know why, because certainly over the years parking habits haven’t changed but it must be that our tolerance levels are decreased.”
He moved two amendments to the fees and charges being looked at, including parity in free parking across the district and halving the Fixed Penalty Notices.
Council officers, however, said that there was an approximately £1.8million budget gap that the authority would have to find to its overall budget.
They said that fees and charges were part of a policy to recover costs and warned of inflationary concerns in national finances.
Emma Foy, WLDC’s Section 151 Officer said: “I am very concerned that making amendments without understanding financial implications will give members a further challenge going forward.”
Council leader Conservative Councillor Owen Bierley said the charges being made on a cost-recovery basis was “quite reasonable” and provided support to traders.
However, Councillor Lesley Rollings, Liberal Democrat, feared the 250 FPNs a month would anger people and put them off returning to the area.
She added one hour free parking was “next to useless” to encourage visitors.
Councillor John McNeill said the move around FPNs could increase occupancy, but that he worried it would “gum up parking” and lose income. He suggested a full review be carried out into the changes.
The amendments were voted for seven votes to five in an initial poll and eight to four in a subsequent one. All other changes proposed to the council’s fees and charges were approved unanimously, including two days of free parking for Christmas events in Gainsborough and Market Rasen.
They will now go before the authority’s Corporate Policy and Resources Committee for approval.
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