Visitors to the Lincolnshire coast could face an increase in winter parking charges following new proposals put forward by East Lindsey District Council.
ELDC has produced a comprehensive review of the 55 off-street car parks it owns in 14 towns and villages, including Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Skegness.
At present, visitors to the coastal resorts between November-February pay either nothing - or £1 to park all day at ELDC-owned sites.
However, the new proposals for off-season parking would see the introduction of a flat rate of £1 for an hour - or £2 for all day.
The proposed changes will go before ELDC’s Executive Board on April 19 to be ratified.
Changes could also be on the cards for daytime parking in Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea.
Visitors currently pay £1.60 for up to two hours, £2.50 after 2pm and £5 all day.
The review suggests changing charges to £1 for an hour, £2 for three hours and £5 all day.
It would be more expensive to park in Skegness where the daily charge in summer would increase from £7 to £8.
The council says it wants to scrap the current ‘one size fits all’ policy and introduce policies tailor-made to individual communities.
The council adds it has listened to as many people as possible during a consultation period, but warns it cannot afford to lose the annual £1.7m net income it receives from car parking.
That income provides 10 per cent of ELDC’s revenue budget and councillors warn without it, services would have to be cut.
If the changes are approved, the council says there will also be a ‘greater choice of tariffs’ available during the summer months on the coast.
A new ‘check in, check out’ parking payment system could be trialled in Skegness this summer.
It aims to provide cashless payments via a smartphone, giving visitors more flexibility.
It is thought town and parish councils could be handed more power to decide on parking charges as part of ELDC’s comprehensive transformation programme.
Coun Steve Kirk, ELDC’s portfolio holder for the Coastal Economy, said: “By listening to the concerns and ideas of local businesses, the evidence in the report demonstrates that we have a very strong basis on which to continue our support for a thriving retail, visitor and night time economy along the coast.”
The council says the proposals will not damage the vital tourist economy on the coast.
ELDC adds it is also keen to promote and support local businesses.
There will be no alteration to existing arrangements for overnight parking.
There are also changes on the cards for inland market towns.
In Louth and Horncastle, the council is proposing to introduce 30 minutes’ free car parking in the respective market places.
In Louth, all day free parking will be retained at the Cattle Market and Linden Walk.