Louth's controversial Active Travel Scheme to end next month

The parklets were removed in October.The parklets were removed in October.
The parklets were removed in October.
Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed that Louth's controversial Active Travel Scheme is set to end next month, with all limitations on disabled parking in Market Place removed and parking bays on Mercer Row reinstated.

The Louth Active Travel Scheme is an 18-month-long trial that sees the restriction of traffic along Mercer Row in order to create a larger pedestrianised area feeding into Cornmarket in a bid to encourage the town’s café culture and manage traffic flow in the town centre.

‘Parklet’ units costing £68,000 were placed in Mercer Row back in August 2022 in former parking bays, which the council said were designed to “wooden seating units are elegant, accessible and invite people to stop and rest, making the most of the area’s blossoming café culture which the Active Travel Scheme is designed to encourage

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The scheme has been met with criticism by locals and businesses who said the lack of parking on Mercer Row has made shopping difficult, and the scheme was also criticised for the lack of provision for those with disabilities in town.

The parklets were hit by vandalism several times last year, before they were finally removed in October 2022 for ‘safety reasons’, and further graffiti was sprayed on roads in town attacking the scheme.

But now Lincolnshire County Council has now today (Friday) confirmed that the scheme is coming to an end and the parking on Mercer Row is set to be returned to how it was before, with Mercer Row’s four to five non blue badge and three to four blue badge spaces returning, as well as the Cornmarket’s four blue badge and 19 non blue badge spaces.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “Like we said from the very beginning, this was always going to be an experimental trial during which we’d take feedback on-board about whether to make any of the changes we were trialling permanent and that we’d remove them if they don’t work for Louth.

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“With the trial coming to an official end in a month and a half, everything we’ve tried will return to the way it was before we started in March 2022.

“This includes fully re-opening and reimplementing parking in Cornmarket; removing the limitations on disabled parking in Market Place; and reinstating parking bays on Mercer Row, from numbers 19 to 33.”

Coun Davies also said that the council is set to look at implementing seasonal traffic restrictions in the Cornmarket, with further details to be announced nearer the time.

continued: “As promised from the beginning, we’re now drawing up plans for public engagement this autumn about whether or not to make any of the changes we’ve trialled permanent.

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“For example, one idea we’re keen to explore is implanting seasonal traffic restrictions in the Cornmarket. We think this would strike a strong balance between giving businesses here the opportunity to utilise the space when it’s warmer while allowing for parking in the colder months when there’s less demand for outdoor seating.

“More details about the engagement will be announced closer to the time so that anyone who wants to have their say can. Any updates relating to this will also be available on letstalk.lincolnshire.gov.uk.”