Traders furious at proposed hike in Louth town centre parking charges
A PETITION has been launched against planned changes to parking charges as Louth shopkeepers worry about the economic future of the town.
Traders, residents and visitors have come together to oppose East Lindsey District Council's proposed changes to parking arrangements across the district.
Gary Denniss, of M & G Designs, in Little Eastgate, said: "These are tough economic times and we are all struggling to keep Louth a vibrant market town.
"There's a strong feeling among businesses that the council is working against what we are trying to achieve.
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"Plans to introduce Sunday charging and scrap free car parking are a real threat to our livelihoods and it appears that councillors have not done any meaningful research and don't even have a properly-planned car parking strategy."
Traders feel that it is the four-hour shopper that the town should be attracting as it is those that will explore what is on offer.
Plans proposed for ELDC car parks suggest making the first hour free for motorists.
Mr Denniss added: "It's all very well shoppers popping into town to collect a paper or nip in for specific item but what about those who visit the town to see what it has to offer?"
It is not only shop traders that have voiced their concerns.
Market trader Alan Grant said: "This isn't a council that cares about business.
"My customers love to visit Louth's market and shops and we need to encourage them, not push them away."
Those wanting to sign the petition can do so at M & G, Peter Rhodes, Diana's Shoes, Materialistic, Chilli Peppers, Striacroft Jewellers, Spinning Wheel, H and A Crafts, Faulkners of Louth and many of the town's market stalls.
The organiser of the Louth Town Partnership's market events, Mick Foreman, said: "We who volunteer at the partnership put in hundreds of hours as we strive to attract people into the town.
"The council should work in partnership with us and genuine consultation should be routine."
Portfolio holder for the environment at the council, Tony Bridges, said: "Car parking arrangements will be considered at the meeting of council in January, allowing all district councillors to contribute to the final decision.
"As well as making car parking arrangements more consistent, I am proposing an amendment to the scrutiny report which will go a long way in enabling us to protect services to residents in light of cuts to our funding and rising cost pressures in delivering services.
"If we don't increase income, the reality is that the council will need to consider what it stops doing and/or increase council tax."