OBSERVER: Parking fees are not competitive


I imagine Coun Derek Richmond must be fed up with being ‘town centre portfolio holder’.

Nearly every time he makes a statement he must be dreading the wails of anguish which can be heard in the town. I haven’t counted the number of times he’s replied that I’m talking ‘rubbish’ when I’ve made comment about some of these statements (despite me using his figures).

Now he’s revealed that officers are to make a comprehensive report on why parking ticket sales have gone down, despite a three per cent increase in footfall in the town. Well, councillor, you obviously haven’t been reading my comments – and readers’ letters – about the excessive charges. The increase in footfall might have something to do with the additional residents we’ve received over the past few years.

He feels charges are ‘competitive’ with the private car parks; perhaps they are, but they are certainly nowhere near competitive with other towns in the south of the county where some are offering free, or cheap, parking for a couple of hours.

He would like free car parking, but it is ‘unaffordable’. How, then, do others manage it? Perhaps it might be because they realise the only way to attract visitors is to make it attractive – high charges don’t help. Of course, the council could bite the bullet and put a small increase on council tax.

At least we would know that this increase would be spent on the town and not go down the road to Lincoln! But, cynic that I am, there’s no chance of an increase in council tax with an election looming next year!

Best comment of all is his suggestion that an area of the Market Place could be used for entertainment: we already have it – it’s called ‘dodgems round the planters’. “We don’t want tacky stuff that degrades the town,” he says.

Sorry, Coun Richmond, until you spend money on the town and tidy it up you will continue to see a decline in the sale of parking tickets.

West Street may be very clean but there are other areas in the town as well.