More than 250 people rejected changes to Louth’s Mercer Row, market square and Cornmarket parking at a meeting on Wednesday.

Residents attended a meeting at the town’s Royal British Legion Hall on Northgate, organised by Independent Town and District Councillors. The majority hit out at the Louth Active Travel Scheme, proposed by Lincolnshire County Council.

The scheme aims to improve walking and cycling in the town by taking away some parking, moving other bays and doubling down on café culture in the Cornmarket.

The authority has already had to backtrack on some elements of the plans, reinstating two disabled parking bays on Tuesday night.

Hundreds attended a meeting at the Royal British Legion in Louth. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Those at the meeting agreed that Mercer Row should revert back to how it was before the changes took place.

John Woolliss, of Woolliss and Son Butchers, on Mercer Row, told the meeting he had already seen a drop in trade.

“People can’t be bothered to walk to my shop for a pie when they can pull up, get a pie on the way home from school with the kids, grab it and be on their way.”

He said some residents who had previously spent hundreds of pounds had cancelled their orders, adding some had called “in tears”.

Katrina Pierce, from the Federation of Small Businesses. | Image: Daniel Jaines

The Federation of Small Businesses is also against the plans.

Katrina Pierce, from the federation, told the meeting: “Those businesses rely on that short-term, easy access… that regular, certain spend.

“They have seen that go down the drain immediately and they’re now four months into that which is completely unsustainable.”

Disabled and low mobility residents were also a big focus.

Rose Stanhope said: “People who live in Louth who can walk do, all my friends walk and I’m ashamed to say now I can’t any longer.

“I have been absolutely devastated I can no longer park in the Cornmarket.”

The disabled parking bays on Mercer Row were reinstated on Tuesday, but some “parklets” are due to be installed at each end to promote sitting on the street. | Image: Daniel Jaines

There was some support for café culture with some suggestions a compromise could be met by bringing parking back in over the winter months and after 6pm to allow for safe journeys to night-time venues such as restaurants.

There was some discussion over whether the Cornmarket could be used for parking during the evenings and winter months, but a show of hands settled on a complete reversal of the plans.

Hayden Arrowsmith, a cyclist, said the Cornmarket could be “so much better”.

“[It] could be a fantastic space if done in the right measure, it would be great to have more bike spaces within a nice area.”

However, others argued that due to the British weather it would be unlikely to be used when it was colder – especially, people said, on Mercer Row.

Councillor Andrew Leonard chaired the meeting. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Attendees were given a list of emails and addresses for council representatives and asked to contact them with their concerns.

No-one from Lincolnshire County Council was at the meeting.

Following the meeting, Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport, said the authority “appreciate” the feedback.

“The active travel funding we’ve received, and the trial we’re using it for, is a unique opportunity to encourage more walking and cycling in the town centre, while also opening up Louth’s businesses and café culture to a wider audience.

“We accept that many of the 250 people that attended last night’s meeting are against this scheme.

“However, there were over 350 people who supported the project when we engaged on it in March 2021.

“Completely scrapping this experiment before it’s had a proper chance to create positive change in Louth would be a wasted opportunity and a disservice to those who support what we’re doing.”

He encouraged people to attend a further meeting to be held by Louth Town Council on September 13 at 6.30pm at the same location.

“This is still too early to for us to engage with people for the 18-month trial, but the views they gather will give us a much better idea of how people feel ahead of us carrying out our engagement at the end of the trial,” he said.

A further meeting will be held by Louth Town Council about the scheme on Tuesday, September 13 at 6.30pm at the same location.

The authority said it will be inviting representatives from the local authorities.

Feedback on the scheme can also be sent to LCC by emailing [email protected]

August 10, 2022 12.19 pm

At approximately 7.50pm on Tuesday, 9 August we attended a collision involving a grey Toyota Aygo and a silver Mazda 6 on the A631 near to South Elkington, Louth.

Tragically a 19-year-old female passenger of the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene. Her family are being supported by a specially trained family liaison officer.

Two other passengers of the Toyota suffered serious injuries and were taken to hospital.

If you were in the area of South Elkington around the time of the collision and have any information or dashcam footage that may assist us in our enquiries, please get in touch.

  • Call 101 and quote ‘Incident 404 of 9 August’.
  • Email: [email protected] and include ‘Incident 404 of 9 August’ in the subject line.

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]

+ More stories