By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincoln Central car park has enjoyed its busiest year ever as the town centre recovers from the pandemic.

More people used the 1,001-space multi-storey car park in the 12 months leading up to March 2022 than ever before.

The numbers even surpassed pre-COVID levels, showing people are keen to be out and about shopping and dining.

There were 505,463 parking sessions at Lincoln Central in that year, generating £1.6million, according to figures released through a Freedom of Information request.

That is nearly three times the revenue of the previous year, when repeated lockdowns often kept people at home.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 271,081 visits, which generated £648,949.

Lincoln’s new multi-storey opened in 2017. | Photo: Steve Smailes

Since it opened in November 2017 as part of the Lincoln Transport Hub scheme, it has generated a total of around £5.4million in revenue.

However, enforcement officers have still had to issue fines to people parking in the multi-storey’s disabled spaces without a blue badge.

A total of 156 PCNs (penalty charge notices) were issued in the year up to March 2022, with a value of £5,460.

The £30million Transport Hub project also created a state-of-the-art bus station, improvements to the city’s railway station forecourt, a new access for vehicles into the railway station car park and pedestrian plaza linking Sincil Street and High Street to the railway station.

By Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for more than 100 homes on an accident-prone road have been rejected, despite the developer claiming there were ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The 109-home estate had been planned for a field off Eastfield Lane in Welton.

But the site isn’t in West Lindsey District Council’s local plan, meaning there needs to be very good reasons for building on it.

Applicant Turley Farms said the field was likely to become part of the plan in future, and it would also support developments which have already been approved.

However, residents warned it was on a dangerous bend of a narrow country road.

Chris Thomas spoke at the council’s planning meeting meeting on behalf of 120 concerned residents.

“This would extend the built-up area of Welton into open countryside. It would increase residents’ car dependency, and noise pollution,” he said.

“It would also significantly increase the risk of an accident.

Designs for the rejected homes just outside of Welton. | Photo: Turley Farms Ltd

“Eastfield Lane would need to be widened to cope with the traffic, but ditches on either side make this difficult. Accidents regularly occur each year on this bend.

“The development would lead to half a million extra car journeys each year.”

The field is earmarked for development in a draft of a future local plan, which is currently going through consultation, but isn’t in effect yet.

James Lambert, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “The council should give greater weight to the emerging local plan, particularly as there are exceptional circumstances.

“There is also the opportunity for more sustainable development, as the developer of a neighbouring site has expressed interest in access for their construction traffic through this site.

“Otherwise, they will have to use the village roads, creating more construction traffic and disruption for residents.

“There are significant benefits to this application, including 109 dwellings towards West Lindsey’s housing targets, 25% of which will be affordable, road and footpath improvements for Eastfield Lane, and investment in Welton.”

Access to the site has concerned many residents. | Photo: Google Maps

Council officers noted that these weren’t considered exceptional circumstances.

Ward Councillor Diana Rodgers urged the committee to reject it, saying: “In the fulfilment of time, this site may be needed but not now. Not until public services and infrastructure have caught up with demand.”

Officers recommended the committee reject the plan.

Councillor Roger Patterson said he couldn’t see “anyway of going against the recommendation”, and added that the current local plan was “watertight”.

The committee voted unanimously to reject the plans.

Lincolnshire residents are in “cattle class” when it comes to trains, a county councillor has said as plans to improve carbon emissions around transport are explored.

The authority’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee was examining its fifth Local Transport Plan which includes plans to spend thousands of pounds on improving access to the county’s railway stations.

However, councillors were less concerned about access and more about the service which attracted residents to use the trains themselves – or lack of it in this case.

Conservative Councillor Ian Fleetwood said: “If you’ve travelled on the UK rail network in comparison with a lot of Europe, I think the UK are travelling on peasant class, because the quality of the trains in the UK is particularly poor.”

He said there were vast differences between, of instance, the Eurostar with its air suspension, and the East Coast Mainline which he said: “rattles around” and “doesn’t have potentially a toilet or even a by even a canteen type facility’.

“Basically, we are very much in cattle class in comparison,” he said.

He noted the cost of fares for those trains was also “far, far too high”.

“We seem to pay a premium for public transport here,” he said.

Several other members were also aligned with Cllr Fleetwood’s comments.

Councillor Kevin Clark, said he recently got a train to Newark.

“It was absolutely packed, people were stood up, by the time we got to Newark – about four stops along – the same volume of people had tried to get on the train.

“That’s what’s stopping people using trains – the service. It’s absolutely rubbish here. If you go down south though it’s completely different. It’s a wonderful experience using the train,” he said.

Committee chairman Martin Griggs said the service elsewhere was “significantly better and fantastically cheaper.

“I like to take the kids out on days out via train, but sometimes it is just too cost prohibitive. It’s far cheaper to load everyone into the car and drive there directly,” he said.

He also pointed out the lack of options for where to go from some Lincolnshire stations, such as Boston where the main options are Skegness or Nottingham, and the low number of trains meaning long waits for the next service.

Councillor Hilton Spratt criticised a decision to run a single carriage to the Nottingham Christmas Market on a Saturday evening.

Jason Copper, Lincolnshire County Council’s Transport and Growth Manager, said Network Rail were carrying out a major study looking at the Greater Lincolnshire service provision.

He said this included new infrastructure such as new stations around the county and said he had asked them to look at issues where barriers cut some locations in half by being down for long periods.

He also pointed to the creation of the new Great British Rail organisation which will remove the franchise system and replace some responsibilities from the Department for Transport, Network Rail and some operators.

“We are likely to see some very significant changes in the way the rail industry is run and operated moving forward, hopefully for the better because yes, I’m well aware that in some places it couldn’t actually get much worse,” he said.

The fifth Local Transport Plan also includes initiatives to decarbonise the freight industry such as drivers booking loading bays in advance, or the creation of out-of-town delivery centres, according to a report by LCC.

Councillors also discussed how improvements could be made to Electric Vehicle charging provision, buses and bikes, air travel and shortening or changing supply chains to make them more sustainable.

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