Councillors say they are “concerned” that Lincoln Central Car Park is in need of extensive repairs after only being open for six years. City of Lincoln Council announced plans for £150,000 worth of repairs amid issues with the lifts not always working with a surge in shoppers using the car park.
At a city council scrunity meeting on Thursday, November 16, councillors questioned the quality of the original work put in to build the lifts. Shoppers said the lifts have “always been a problem,” along with at least one payment machine being out of us when we visited on Thursday, November 16.
Simon Walters, directorate for communities and environment, said: “Members have been aware for some time that the two busiest lifts, which share the door leading out to Sincil Street, have had a few issues over the last couple of years. We know it’s frustrating for customers. We know that they are inactive a lot of the time.
“We are definitely not replacing the lifts. There are certain bits of equipment that are not performing as they should. So this provision allows us to replace those pieces of equipment.”
Councillor David Clarkson, Conservative, said: “The first two floors of the car park were brought into use on November 17, 2017. That’s six years. I am shocked that we’re setting aside £150k for repairs to lifts that haven’t been in full use for six years. Lifts in all manner of structures, including multi-storey car parks, are standard operating equipment.
“I accept that we would allocate more than the estimated cost just in case, but I come back to the central point. This building was brought into use, the first half of it, six years ago tomorrow. To have such expensive repairs after six years is… incredible.”
He added: “The council taxpayer would want to know why, after less than six years, these lifts require this repair. It’s concerning that a six-year-old car park’s specification is now in question.”
Mr Walters said: “Central Car Park has been exceptionally popular. It’s been far more successful than we envisaged in the original business case.”
The scrutiny meeting heard that consultants had carried out investigations and identified parts related to the control mechanisms ensuring lift safety, which suddenly shut the lift off when errors occurred. He said: “There’s nothing unsafe about the lifts. They were absolutely fine, but sometimes they just suddenly switch off, and that’s why they stopped working.”
Mr Walters did not disclose contractual relationships with the original company, and Labour Councillor Gary Hewson acknowledged there may be discussions around compensation in the future. He also noted that the city council had made money from the car park.
He said: “The council has had to be more business-like and entrepreneurial. Central Car Park is generating income for the council, so one thing we can’t do is deter people from using it. We’re not sure yet how much it’s going to cost, but… we can’t let the car park continue like this.”
An additional £11,000 has been earmarked for deep cleaning. Jaclyn Gibson, financial planning manager, said the city council still had to agree on procurement for the work, and said he hoped the cost would come down to “significantly less.”
Opposition members have submitted a motion to the City of Lincoln Council calling for a full detailed review of the car park, focused on resolving any issues.