Charge to plug funding gap

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COUNTY council chiefs hope to make half the cost of taking on traffic warden duties from the introduction of on-street pay and display meters.

In Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press we revealed that Lincolnshire County Council is due to discuss plans to charge shoppers to park on busy town centre streets from next summer.

The move would help cover the cost of taking on Civilian Parking Enforcement (CPE) from the police, which the county council is doing as part of a national drive to shift the responsibility onto local authorities.

The council says it will cost £250,000 to set up CPE and about £1.2million a year to run it.

According to a council spokesman, introducing about 400 to 500 pay and display spaces in Lincolnshire could recoup £540,000 a year, leaving the rest to come from fines from illegal parking to break even.

The spokesman said: “The money would therefore be used to fund the enforcement, otherwise we would be operating at a loss.

“The proposals would affect between 400 and 500 spaces across the county.

“Exactly which areas would be affected have not been determined yet, only that Pay & Display would be earmarked for town and city centre locations.”

The Spalding Guardian understands that areas affected could include those which already have waiting restrictions, such as Sheep Market, New Road and Double Street in Spalding, and Holbeach High Street.

The plans will go before the Highways Transport and Technology Scrutiny Committee on Monday and if passed will have to be approved by the Government before being introduced in June 2012.

On Tuesday we revealed that traders have raised fears that the charge will scare off shoppers and offer a disincentive to visit our towns at a time when trading conditions are tough.