East Lindsey District Council has been accused of ‘milking’ coastal towns for extra money after a decision to scrap charges at some car parks.
District councillor Tony Howard, who represents Mablethorpe, said he had been left ‘disappointed’ following the authority’s u-turn and feels the council had ‘got it wrong.’
Vehicles owners won’t have to pay at 10 district council owned car parks but only one - Sandilands - is in the coastal area.
Coun Howard believes the decision means income from coastal car parks will be now supporting inland communities where there is more free parking.
He said: “The council already had it right when there was no free parking in the district as it brought about a sense of uniformity and made it fair.
“But it’s now very much that car parks in-land are free and the coastal ones are not. I feel very disappointed by the decision and I think the council have got it wrong. They are now milking the coast for the extra money which I feel is grossly unfair.”
District councillor Stephen Palmer, who represents Sutton on Sea and Alford, agreed with Coun Howard.
He said he was pleased a car park in Alford was now free, but criticised the policy in Mablethorpe and Sutton.
Coun Palmer said: “I am very pleased to get free parking back in the district, especially in Alford as there was a lot of chaos being caused there with on-street parking.
“People did not want to pay to park and so parked on the street. But free parking is a good thing and is great for local shops to help bring business into the town.
“It’s sad for Mablethorpe and Sutton as there is no free parking all year round. We don’t want people going to Louth to shop because there is free parking there.
“It’s the element of who the council are supporting, residents or visitors. It’s a tricky one, but I always think the residents should come first.”
A spokesman for ELDC stressed there are a number of car parks in Mablethorpe and Sutton that are free all day - from November to February.
He said that there are two hours free parking all year at one car park in Mablethorpe and one in Sutton.
The spokesman said: “Mablethorpe and Sutton have car parks offering two hours free parking all year, along with free all day parking on six foreshore car parks from November to the end of February.
“The council is working hard to encourage people to visit the coast all year and believes the existing parking arrangements support both local people wishing to use the shops and provides an incentive for people to come to the resorts outside the season.”
The district council is also set to bring in a £2 fee to park in council-run car parking after 6pm - but Coun Howard felt this wouldn’t have a big impact on the coast.
He added: “I don’t think the parking charge at night will effect the coast a great deal and don’t think it will make much money.”
Should more be done with free car parking to support residents living in Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea?
Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.