Rasen businesses asked to support money-back plan

Business owners in Market Rasen have been asked if they would support a district council proposal that would feature a parking charge refund for shoppers.

Market Rasen parking signs EMN-170130-123603001
Market Rasen parking signs EMN-170130-123603001

Market Rasen this week saw the introduction of West Lindsey District Council’s controversial parking charges which will affect Mill Road, John Street, and Festival Hall car parks.

The new measures mean visitors to the town must pay charges ranging from 30 pence for one hour to two pounds for over six hours.

But the Rasen Mail can now reveal shoppers may not need to take the full financial hit as the district council has reached out to businesses in the town asking them to register their interest in a refund scheme.

It would see parking machines modified to print two tickets - one to display in a vehicle and one to use as a refund voucher when shopping.

The ticket means vehicle owners would be able to prove the amount of parking they had paid.

WLDC were initially approached by the owner of the Advocate Arms who planned to reimburse daytime customers for any money they spent on parking charges.

Owner of the Advocate Arms, Darren Lince, told the Mail his reimbursement scheme was a bid to combat the ‘mental barrier’ which he believed would deter customers from visiting the town .

Mr Lince referred to a simiar scheme already operating in Gainsborough.

He said: “If you go shopping in Marshall’s Yard, you get your charges back.

“They’ve got all the points of sale articulating how people can get their car parking charges back and the machines print a voucher for proof.

“Everyone has been very positive and supportive about the re-imbursement initiative.

“Everybody without exception thinks charging for car parking is crazy, so anything we can do to minimise the cost to customers and show them support has been appreciated.”

In a letter sent to business, WLDC says it wants to judge the level of support for a wider scheme in Market Rasen.

The letter states: “We are interested in finding out if any other business in the area would also be interested in this scheme which we would advertise in the car parks.”

The letter adds the amount refunded would have to be agreed by individual businesses and by the amount shoppers spend. It suggests a 50p refund for £10 spent.

Local business owner Sharon Sykes described the scheme as a ‘positive’ move.

Ms Sykes, who owns Whoops-A-Daisies, said: “I have responded to the letter and am quite happy to participate. It is a very positive thing, particularly for me as the owner of a new business. It will encourage shoppers to keep coming.”

District councillor Thomas Smith emphasised that businesses should only participate ‘if they feel able’. He said: “What the Advocate Arms has felt able to do is a good thing for shoppers. If other businesses feel able to offer relief to their customers that would be positive.”

“But it has to be determined by the businesses themselves and would have fit in a business’s own financial envelope”.