New figures show more people are paying to park in Louth than last year despite criticism of parking charges

A total of 1,085 more people paid to park in Northgate West car park in May 2013 than May 2012, figures show.
A total of 1,085 more people paid to park in Northgate West car park in May 2013 than May 2012, figures show.
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New figures show more people are paying to park in Louth than last year, despite fervent criticism of the council’s increased parking charges.

Data released by East Lindsey District Council this week shows 55,847 tickets were bought in previously paid-for car parks in Louth in May, the month that the new charges began, 1,211 more than the same month last year.

During that time only three out of the 11 ELDC car parks showed a drop in visitors.

The council said it released the data ‘following the ongoing debate in the local media’ over the changes which included increased prices and charges in three previously free sites.

But one business owner has labelled the new parking charges ‘horrendous’.

The charges have led to uproar from local business owners who have claimed their trade is dwindling due to the ramping up of the prices and cutting of free Sunday parking.

However the data also shows only 510 motorists paid to park in the previously free Cattle Market in May, an average of just over 16 per day.

Nicola Walsh, owner of Million Hairs barbers in Newmarket, said the new Cattle Market charges have hit takings hard. She said: “It’s just horrendous, very quiet. I’ve never known it like this.

“People could just nip in the Cattle Market for free and have a hair cut but now you have to pay. I don’t understand why they would do this to the town.

“One of the reasons I took this shop in the first place was because of the free parking.”

Coun Steve Newton, ELDC’s top car parking figure, said: ”The changes to car parking will deliver around £400,000 of additional income which will help maintain services and keep the lowest council tax rate in Lincolnshire.

“The council has committed to reviewing the new car parking arrangements in early 2014 and we will continue to monitor all car parks closely.”