Council reverses decision to remove disabled parking bays in Louth

Lincolnshire County Council has reversed a decision to remove two disabled parking bays on Louth High Street, on the eve of a meeting about controversial plans for the area.

Workers put the bays back on Tuesday. | Image: LCC
Workers put the bays back on Tuesday. | Image: LCC

However, campaigners against the plans for the Louth Active Travel Scheme say the gathering at the Royal British Legion tonight (Wednesday, read more here) at 7pm will still go ahead as there are still concerns and issues with the scheme.

The bays were taken away from Mercer Row as part of a bid to improve pedestrian and cycle access to the town as well as promote a cafe culture style area in the Cornmarket.

The scheme, an 18-month long trial, saw the restriction of traffic along Mercer Row to create a larger pedestrianised area feeding into the Cornmarket.

It began in March following a near year long consultation by LCC and has sparked a fierce backlash from local businesses and residents who say it prohibited the disabled and elderly from parking within walking distance of shops.

East Lindsey District Council has also called for a review of the scheme, saying it was concerned the scheme would have a “detrimental impact” on the town’s “reputation as an accessible and bustling market town, as well as the management and communication of the initiative”.

Following the reinstatement of the bays, Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “As part of the initial changes we made to Louth’s town centre as part of our Active Travel trial, we temporarily removed two disabled bays on Mercer Row to make extra space on the road.

“However, following the feedback we’ve received from local people, one of our highways teams visited Louth yesterday evening to reinstate these two bays so blue-badge holders can park on Mercer Row again.”

He stressed the council were continuing to listen to concerns and that the scheme “remains an experimental trial”.

“Before making any decisions about whether to make any of these changes permanent, we will engage with local people,” he said, adding that the council would continue to adjust the scheme as needed.

Mercer Row in Louth as it looked with the Active Travel Scheme installed. | Photo: Kristian Chamberlain

Louth Town and East Lindsey District Councillor Andrew Leonard, who has organised tonight’s meeting, however, said the council had not gone far enough.

“It’s interesting, all you have to do is call a meeting and you get action,” he said.

“They have put a sticking plaster on it… but one swallow does not make a summer,” he said.

“It doesn’t go far enough or address the problem properly.”

He called on the council to start listening better to people’s criticisms.

For more information visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/activetravel and to feedback on the scheme email [email protected]