This evening I've been at a meeting organised by the Town Council to discuss parking in the town. The meeting was called following the deputation at the last full meeting led by Karl Hockridge and a group of town centre traders.
The traders want the council to take action to boost footfall in the town. They would like to see the Town Council introduce a cheap initial parking scheme (such as 10p for the first 20 minutes) in the multi-storey car park. They also propose a barrier system to prevent ticket abuse which they say is common and which is costing the Town Council much revenue.
The Town Council say they have debated such a discount period but believe that it would lose money for the Town (and therefore for town council tax payers) and that a barrier system was investigated 10 years ago and found not to be viable.
The meeting got a bit heated at times but the Mayor proposed at the end that the Town Council would consider the ideas put forward as well as any others that are proposed. There was an idea put forward by a town councillor that the town should ask for a technical report on a barrier system and other means of controlling entry and/or exit to determine what would be possible and what is simply not.
I was also asked to speak to explain what Cornwall Council has done and is considering doing. I explained that Cornwall Council had decided to group Launceston in with towns such as Penryn and Hayle (and not the original proposal of lumping us in with St Austell and Camborne). I explained the likely impact on charging and that there will be another meeting in two weeks to consider the issues of charging scale and of discount offers. The Lib Dems have campaigned since last year for a 10p first hour parking scheme in at least one Launceston car park to boost local shops.
I very much hope that the traders and Town Council will be able to work together to make sure that the multi-storey car park balances charges and discounts against maximises income for the council and for the town as a whole.