Friday, 9 January 2015

Launceston councillors fight to save £1 parking and fair season ticket prices (Updated with correct proposals)

Launceston's Cornwall Councillors have called on residents to help fight proposals which could see £1 Saturday parking abolished and season tickets more than double in price this April.

Local people have until January 30 to respond to Cornwall Council’s consultation on parking prices which myself and my fellow councillors Adam Paynter and Jade Farrington fear could undo all the hard work which saw annual permits reduced to £100 or £200 depending on the car park and shoppers able to park all day for just £1 every Saturday.

We worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce and other organisations over many years to bring down the price of parking and make it affordable to those who live and work here.

We managed to get the parking department to see sense and drop permit prices so people could actually afford to buy them. Not only that but the council actually made more money as people were using the car parks rather than clogging up residential streets. Now Cornwall Council seems determined to go back to the bad old days where just 30 permits were sold due to the outrageous prices.

We fear shoppers and commuters will abandon the town’s car parks if the fee hikes go ahead and have demanded an urgent meeting with Independent Councillor Bert Biscoe, the cabinet member with responsibility for car parking, to urge him to think again.

The cheap £100 annual permits which had been introduced in the small permit-only Race Hill car park on Fair Park Close will rise to £310, as will those in the Cattle Market, Duke Street and Tower Street. The situation in the Walk House is even worse with a proposal to scrap them altogether. If this goes ahead it will be a disaster for Launceston.

The £1 all day Saturday car parking had proved extremely popular and had been a real boost for many shops. The Upper Cattle Market car park is usually more than half empty so Jade asked the parking department to consider trialling £1 all day parking there on weekdays to encourage more people into town and commuters off the surrounding residential streets. They refused and insisted Launceston’s car parks had to hit an income target which they have never managed before.

Car parks are a vital service in their own right which are as important to this town as litter collection and the library. They should cover the cost of providing them but should not be used as cash cows designed to subsidise other services.

To make matters worse, these proposals are likely to result in a collapse of revenue as drivers revert to parking in residential streets or opt to shop out of town instead. It’s a slap in the face for Launceston’s businesses which work so hard to keep people coming into the town centre.

Cornwall Council had just voted unanimously to protect the town centre by turning down permission for Timpson to open a pod at Tesco, yet the authority seemed oblivious as to the likely impact of its parking charge proposals.

If this goes ahead there is a real risk shops will have to shed staff and livelihoods will be destroyed. If shops close then Cornwall Council loses the business rates and its income goes down. It’s unbelievably short sighted in every way.

We have emphasised how important it was for local people to respond to the consultation by January 30 to make their views known. Our request was echoed by Sue Issleib from the Chamber of Commerce, who runs …hazard on Launceston High Street.

She said: “Alex, Adam and Jade have worked closely with us to bring down parking charges over several years. Annual permits are the equivalent of 55p per day and we’ve seen a big increase in footfall since our councillors got £1 all day parking introduced in all Cornwall Council car parks on Saturdays.

“To see Bert Biscoe proposing to undo all this good work is devastating. I hope every single person who cares about the future of our town centre will respond to this consultation and ask him to keep annual permits at £200 in the Walk House and Cattle Market and £100 at Race Hill; £1 all day parking on Saturdays; and the £1 for two hour pay and display charges as they are.”

To view and respond to the consultation visit https://www.engagespace.co.uk/cornwa…/consultation_Dtl.aspx… by 30 January. Cornwall Council believes the changes it is proposing will bring in more revenue. Councillors have therefore urged respondents to explain if it will cause them to stop using the car parks as frequently and reduce the amount of money they put in the machines.

Full list of proposals (see note below)

Castle Street short stay car park
1 hour - 70p
2 hours - £1.30
3 hours - £3.60

Cattle Market long stay car park
1 hour - 70p
2 hours - £1.30
3 hours - £3.60
4 hours - £5.20
24 hours - £5.50
Week - £33
3 months - £86
6 months - £163
Annual - £310

Cattle Market short stay car park
1 hour - 70p
2 hours - £1.30
3 hours - £3.60

Duke Street permit only car park
3 months - £86
6 months - £163
Annual - £310

Pannier Market short stay car park
1 hour - 70p
2 hours - £1.30
3 hours - £3.60

Race Hill permit only car park
3 months - £86
6 months - £163
Annual - £310

Tower Street permit only car park
3 months - £86
6 months - £163
Annual - £310

Walk House long stay car park
1 hour - 70p
2 hours - £1.30
3 hours - £3.60
24 hours - £6.30
Permits no longer available

Note: My apologies that I mistakenly copied the wrong set of prices in the original version of this blog post. Those listed above are now the correct ones. Thanks to those who pointed this out

1 comment:

Mike Stanford said...

Your link appears to go to the 2012 proposals. If you look at the March 2015 proposals, you will notice that parking in Launceston is set to rise to 70p, £1.30 and £3.60 for the three periods and there is no mention of £1 Saturday parking. Season tickets in the Cattle Market are proposed at £310.