Following changes to parking restrictions in Westgate, Wide Westgate and the Market Place there have been 675 more parking tickets issued than during the same period last year - including one to the Mayor of Grantham.
Figures obtained from Lincolnshire County Council via a Freedom of Information request have revealed that whereas only 14 parking tickets were issued in these streets between January 1 and August 31 last year, 689 were issued during the same period this year. This is an increase of 4821 per cent.
Furthermore this has generated £22,186.59 in paid fines up until August 31 this year, as opposed to £480 paid last year. There were also 116 appeals made against parking tickets issued on these roads, 27 of which were accepted.
It comes after businesses in the area said the new parking regulations were affecting trade, with customers being scared away after receiving tickets, and shop owners themselves being penalised while loading and unloading.
Mayor of Grantham Jacky Smith has revealed that she herself has received a parking ticket since the new rules came into place. Both she and fellow district councillor for the ward, St Wulfram’s, expressed their concerns at the ongoing problems, and called for clearer signage.
“I think it is very misleading,” said Mayor Smith. “When it first came in I got a parking ticket, as I didn’t realise I was in a loading bay.
She added: “I had a lady contact me who got a ticket while she was unloading electrical equipment to take it to the electrical repair shop. I think there needs to be a lot clearer signs.
“I have contacted the county council and they were supposed to have changed a lot of the signs, but I can’t see that they have made any improvements.
As well as commenting on the impact to residents and business owners, Mayor Smith highlighted the potential adverse effect on tourism. “Anybody who is a visitor of the town will not feel very welcome,” she said.
Fellow district councillor for the area, Coun Ray Wootten, said that he had been contacted by a relative of a Westgate business owner, after they too received a ticket from a traffic warden.
“I am all for clear and transparent parking regulations,” Coun Wootten said. “I was worried about the changes to the loading bays and I still think it’s confusing having loading bays which are also parking bays.”
Asked to respond on the increase in parking tickets, Coun Richard Davies, LCC’s executive member for highways and transportation, said: “During 2014 our enforcement officers showed a higher level of discretion during a review of parking restrictions in Market Place and Westgate resulting in a smaller number of tickets being issued in these areas.
“Following the review and a new parking scheme being introduced earlier this year, the number of tickets issued has returned to the expected level and equates to fewer than 27 per cent of the 2,590 tickets issued in Grantham town.
“This figure is in line with the number of tickets issued in other similar Lincolnshire towns during the same period including Stamford (2,539) and Boston (3,962).
“Any revenue from parking enforcement is invested in road and transport schemes.”