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South Kesteven scraps plans to increase district-wide parking charges




Leader of SKDC Matthew Lee
Leader of SKDC Matthew Lee

Public pressure has forced South Kesteven District Council to scrap plans to increase charges at the Welham Street Car Park in Grantham, amid other possible changes.

Other parking price changes were also withdrawn at the last minute.

The move was made at the council’s meeting of Budget - Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee today as members put forward a budget to be debated by the council’s cabinet on Thursday.

Planned district-wide tariffs, which have been unchanged since 2010, were due to be announed in a report to be revealed at the meeting, but the item was removed from the agenda.

A seperate proposal to increase the daily rate at the Welham Street car park from £3 to £10, with a new lower ‘Leisure Rate’ of £1.50 for up to four hours was also axed.

The move follows council consultation on planned car parking tariffs, which led to much opposition from residents and businesses, especially concerning changes to Welham Street. They had complained that staff would be unable to afford the extra £35 a week in parking fees leading them to park in nearby streets, worsening parking problems in the area.

Portfolio holder Nick Robins told the meeting: “The reason to move the car park items was really from the feedback from the (Conservative) group and the residents affected by the fees and charrges. We need to do some work around the car parking, consulting with town councils, business clubs, then come back with a piece which reflects true consultation.”

Council budget reports revealed the council had sought an extra £250,000 from chganges to parking tariffs.

Council Leader Matthew Lee told the meeting that the shortfall could be made up from better car park signange and collection.

He said: “We believe that through enforcement, new signage and new parking meters, we feel that we can bridge the £250,000. The (budget) proposals here today can be done without changing tariffs but through machines, usage and enforcemennt.”

“We were internally asking the Conservative group if they were looking at car park changes, they were content for them to remain as it is.”

Later, Coun Lee spoke about Welham Street, after members heard a letter from resident Linda North.

“We had a consultation. That went through the normal processes. That received a great deal of feedback.

“We will keep the present structure because of the feedback. I have read all of the comments from the public. That was a decision to be made at cabinet. The Welham Street proposals will be dropped tomorrow. We will continue with the existing charging structure.”

Coun Lee said the proposed changes were to help the new cinema and the council would talk with Savoy, its operators and then report back to council. But the council believed any lost parking revenues at the car park would come through better enforcement and helping fill more parking spaces.



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