Drop in car park tickets sold in Boston

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Council chiefs will re-look at car parking in Boston after the borough council sold more than 26,000 fewer tickets in the town last year.

The drop means the council was £88,000 off reaching its budgeted total for 2013/14 – and sold more than 50,000 fewer tickets than in 2011/12.

Town centre portfolio holder Derek Richmond said factors such as internet shopping have had an impact – although he accepts that the council’s own figures show footfall in Boston was up three per cent last year.

Coun Richmond said other local authorities are experiencing a similar drop in the number of tickets sold and revealed officers are working on a comprehensive report on the issue this summer.

He said everything will be under review – including prices – although he feels charges are ‘competitive’ with the town’s private car parks.

Coun Richmond told The Standard: “I wish I had a crystal ball.

“We are having a complete look at car parks. We always revisit it and make decisions from year to year.

“What a lot of people don’t realise is that the decisions affect us as well. We don’t take them lightly.

“Nobody more than me would like free car parking but it is unaffordable.”

In 2012 the council sparked controversy by hiking up prices and introducing charges for Blue Badge holders.

When asked if he regrets putting prices up at all, Coun Richmond responded: “Not really. This is happening in other areas and I am not convinced with the argument that if you did bring them down more people would come in. It’s a difficult area.”

He feels that the key to getting the number of tickets sold back up is to bring more attractions to the town centre.

He revealed the council wants to use the area of the Market Place near Seventh Heaven for entertainment.

Coun Richmond said: “We are looking at putting a programme together. It could be used for theatre groups - there’s nothing to stop us doing that.

“We don’t want tacky stuff that degrades the town but we do want other activities and it will happen.”