East Lindsey District Council to end free all-day parking

Parking sign
Image caption Shopkeepers fear losing business if customers have to pay to park

Free all-day car parking is to be abolished at 13 sites in Lincolnshire - despite opponents saying the move will damage local businesses.

East Lindsey District Council does not currently charge drivers to park at 15 of the 57 areas it manages.

Council officers have agreed that drivers should pay £3 for an all-day ticket at 13 of the sites, but parking will remain free for up to an hour.

The council said the charges are needed because of government funding cuts.

Drivers will have to pay £1 to park for up to two hours and £1.50 for up to four hours.

The remaining two free parking areas - which are both in Skegness and are not official public car parks - will become permit only.

However, non-members using the council's leisure facilities in Skegness and Mablethorpe will get a parking refund.

The authority said it would also look at the possibility of fitting solar panels on pay-and-display machines to generate money, which could then be used to offset charges in the future.

Rachael Fletcher, who runs Fletcher and Hughes card shop in Horncastle, believes the new charges will damage local businesses.

"This will push people, I'm sure, into going into bigger cities," she said.

"They are effectively pushing people out of the town."

Trev Hammersley, landlord of The Fleece pub in Burgh Le Marsh, welcomed the changes.

"I've been telling the local councillors to put a charge on it, because since the charges went up in Skegness you've got the local people that work in Skegness parking here, because it's free, and catching the bus into Skegness," he said.

"It's obviously got to be doing damage to the local businesses."

Councillor Tony Bridges, portfolio holder for the environment, said the changes aimed to make parking fairer across the district.

"With significant cuts in government funding the small increases we're proposing would go a long way to protecting vital frontline services to the community.

"Car parking charges haven't increased in East Lindsey since 2008, and I am confident at the proposed prices, the charges still remain reasonable and competitive with other towns in other districts."

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