Friday, 1 May 2009

Lib Dems launch 10p first hour parking campaign

Launceston Lib Dems have launched our campaign for 10p first hour car parking in the town. We believe that such a scheme will help local businesses and revitalise the town centre.

The campaign is part of the wider Cornwall Liberal Democrat pledge to introduce 10p first hour parking in all towns in the County following the hugely successful pilot in Lib Dem run Caradon.

Local shops and businesses are suffering during the recession in Launceston as everywhere else. There are a number of empty properties at the moment including the former Deli Paradiso and Briggs Shoe Shop which closed recently and the former flower shop on the corner of Church Street and the High Street which has been boarded up for some time.

As a smaller town, Launceston is also in danger of losing some of its bank branches. We need to help people to visit these branches to keep them open.

Introducing a 10p first hour car parking scheme in at least one of the town centre car parks will help to encourage shoppers to pop into town rather than going to one of the out of town stores where parking is free. Being able to visit the bank, do your shopping and visit a local market - all for 10p parking - would make a big difference to our town centre.

We would need to ask local people and businesses which car park they would favour for such a scheme and we need to make sure that sufficient parking is available for longer term parkers such as those who work in the town. But we are confident that 10p first hour parking will be a winner for Launceston.

Ideally we would like to have better public transport so that people would not need to use their cars to visit the town centre. But we know that this ideal is a long way off and that, for many people, a car is the only way to reach the town centre.

Any shortfall in revenue as a result of cheaper first hour parking would be made up by a combination of the savings achieved from moving to a unitary council (estimated as more than £65 million over the first four years) and higher charges for longer stay users of the chosen car park. Again, we would want to consult local people before we moved ahead.

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