Parking meters rejected by Lincolnshire County Council

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MOTORISTS could end up footing the bill to pay for a £1.2m deficit for a scheme to introduce parking wardens.

Lincolnshire County Council has £6.5m Government funding to crack down on motorists flouting parking laws but the costs of the scheme are likely to be more than £7.25m.

The man in charge of the project, executive councillor for highways and transport Coun William Webb, is now looking at fines and cost-cutting to claw back the £1.2m deficit.

Lincolnshire is the last county in the country to take on parking enforcement and this is a requirement on the county council by the Government to reduce congestion in town centres.

Councils across the country are taking on powers because the police do not have the resources to enforce restrictions. Rutland County Council has been enforcing parking restrictions since June, 2008.

Lincolnshire highways officers were looking at a proposal to generate income for the scheme by introducing parking meters in Stamford and other towns in the county.

But councillors on the highways and scrutiny committee recommended that the proposal be dropped during their meeting on Monday.

Coun Webb (Con) said: “We are assessing other options and looking at alternative sources of funding. We will have to be very robust in collecting what fines we can.

“We can’t rely on fines, we expect to get a certain amount of revenue. We are currently considering how best we can streamline the system to make it more efficient.

“We have to streamline administration of the schemes and of course we wouldn’t administer this ourselves. We would put this out to outside agencies.”

The council has been told by the Government that it would not be allowed to increase the fines and the council is not allowed to abandon the scheme.

Coun Webb said that the parking meter proposal was not popular throughout the county but traders have problems with free spaces being taken up for long periods of time.

He also said that he could not see meters being installed for several years.

One of Stamford’s county councillors David Brailsford (Con) told Stamford Town Council on Tuesday that he had voted against the plans at Monday’s meeting.