New car park is going unused

Barely used - Grantham Road car park last Thursday morning. EMN-160719-105150001
Barely used - Grantham Road car park last Thursday morning. EMN-160719-105150001

It has been revealed a new £100,000 car park, which has already been branded a ‘white elephant’, took just £32 in fees in its first month.

The new car park off Grantham Road is on the site of a former warehouse beside Elite chip shop and was designed by North Kesteven District Council to reduce town centre congestion.

Motorists must spend £2 to park all day in the 100-space facility, therefore at maximum capacity it would take about £1,000 a week. But the council has admitted in its first month (March) the car park took just £32 (16 tickets) and in June still only collected £522 - just 13 per cent of its potential. In April income was £242 and May £250.

NKDC’s economic development team are pledging to step up efforts to promote the car park. But Rhett Hayes of Rookery Avenue told us: “The new car park is a total waste of money, everyone parks on the Grantham Road to avoid the charges and this has led to very poor visibility for pedestrians and road users alike.”

North Kesteven District Council bought the two-acre site to build affordable housing on part of it, with negotiations ongoing with Network Rail to locate a permanent public car park on its land. In the meantime the temporary car park was created, at a cost of £99,000 to convert it.

Alan Gray, economic development manager, said: “There is clearly a need for a car park such as this on the south side of Sleaford.

“The council acknowledges that take-up has not been as strong as we’d hoped for.

“Previous experience of bringing on board new parking provision in the town shows that it takes some time for these car parks to become fully established.”

The council has ordered new signage to guide drivers to the car park, but installation is in the hands of Lincolnshire County Council Highways department.

Mr Gray said Grantham Road is the first piece in a jigsaw of delivering a series of car parks on the edge of the town centre where visitors can then enjoy an improved environment with less congestion, lower parking fees and increased convenience by not having their journey times compromised.

Elizabeth Hudson emailed us saying: “I’m glad to hear that Alan Gray plans to increase signage for the new car park although signs are needed not only on the A15 but also on the Grantham Road in Sleaford itself.

“Were there direct access from the car park to the town via a footbridge, it would be seen as a better proposition than the current one.

“An incentive might be to offer a weekly car park ticket, say for £6 or to offer students a ticket for £1?”