Cornwall Council's Car Parking Panel has just voted to recommend that the first hour parking charges are frozen across the County. That's great news and will be a benefit to Launceston shopkeepers and shoppers alike.
The Council's proposal was to increase charges by 5% but with a minimum increase of 10p. In effect, this would see Launceston first hour charges rise from 70p to 80p (an increase of 14% and a second increase in a year).
Launceston town centre shops are already suffering greatly and another increase could be the end of the line for more traders.
So I argued at the meeting today for a freeze across the board in those areas which saw an increase last year. Parking should not be simply about raising money but about doing the right thing for the town as a whole.
In event, I couldn't get enough support for a complete freeze, but there was support for a freeze on the first hour charges - which is a massive step in the right direction. Over the course of the next year, the Parking Panel will consider all charging issues - including the Lib Dem proposal for 10p first hour parking - and will hopefully come to a result that will see lower charges overall in town.
The final decision rests with the Cabinet, but I'm very hopeful that they will confirm this decision.