Town and parish councils across East Lindsey will have the final say on whether they want free car parking to be re-introduced in their community.
East Lindsey District Council is considering a U-turn on a controversial decision made two years ago to charge fees at previously free car parks.
That decision included the Linden Walk, Bridge Street and Cattle Market car parks in Louth, in addition to two car parks in Alford and one in Sandilands.
A total of 13 car parks across the district could be affected by the changes.
ELDC will debate the issue in December and Coun Leyland said that, providing the changes were agreed in principle, a final decision would then be made by individual town and parish councils.
Coun Leyland also revealed that the current parking machines, which require people to key in their car registration details, would be phased out.
Coun Leyland, speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council last week, said it was impossible to provide ‘unilateral charges’ across the entire district.
He also warned that while ELDC was keen to support any changes, the authority did rely on car park revenue to meet increasingly difficult financial obligations.
Coun Leyland said: “A scrutiny panel has recommended free parking be reintroduced at previously free car parks.
“However, it is by no means certain that all communities would welcome that.
“It is important that those communities have a say and that town and parish councils can decide. It is part of the ongoing devolution process in local government.”
However, Coun Leyland said ELDC needed parking revenue to ‘help balance the books’ and could not afford to lose any income streams, particularly at a time of ongoing cuts in Government funding.
Mayor of Louth, Coun Sue Locking, told the Leader that she thought that the three Louth car parks under consideration should “absolutely be free”.
Coun Locking also welcomed the proposal to give town and parish councils the final say, adding: “We know our communities better than they do.
“Although I’m speaking personally - not on behalf of the town council - I can’t see the other councillors not giving it their backing.
“The parking charges have done a lot of damage, and I only wish that the proposal to make these car parks free again had come a lot sooner.”