Back in June, the Liberal Democrats stood for election with a manifesto commitment to introduce 10p first hour car parking in all towns. We believed that it was the best way to support struggling town centre shops. It was a measure that was already working well in the former Caradon area. And the measure was certainly popular with local residents. I think that I only came across two people who didn't like it of the hundreds that I talked to.
Since the election, we have pressed the case for this change and the Council is now considering it. At the recent parking panel, the members threw out a Conservative Cabinet move to increase fees by up to 300% and instead said that, for the coming year, fees should rise by just 5%.
So far, so good.
I assumed that as Launceston car parks had seen fees rise from 60p to 70p for the first hour earlier this year (a rise of 16.7%), that there would be no further increase.
Unfortunately this is not the case. Not only is there to be another increase, but it will not even be limited to the 5% promised.
Fees are going up by 10p across the board (equivalent to 14%). For the first hour, this will mean you will be charged 80p. For 1-2 hours the charge will be £1.30, £1.90 for 2-3 hours and £2.50 for 3-4 hours.
So law abiding people wanting to pop into local shops have seen a rise of a third (33.3%) in just two years.
I believe that the people of Launceston have been misled by the spin that parking charges are rising by just 5% and am asking the Council to reconsider the change urgently.
If you agree - or have any other comments - then you can fill in the consultation forms by clicking here. I also understand that you can get a paper copy of the consultation at the Launceston One Stop Shop.