Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cornwall Council £1 million short on parking income and set to raise charges even higher

Cornwall Council is set to demand an additional £1 million from motorists after failing to meet its parking income this year. The charge will add an average 20p to the cost of every car park visit. This extra cost will come on top of the already substantial price rises being demanded by the Conservative led authority.

Cornwall's motorists are facing a massive hike in the cost of parking in our towns and villages. The Conservative led council has made unreasonable demands about the amount of money that can be raised from car users. They view car parks as a massive cash cow which can be milked for as much money as possible.

Some of the hardest hit will be low paid workers in our towns who face a tripling in the cost of their season ticket prices.

Now we have discovered that an extra rise in parking charges is to be demanded by the Cabinet because of the failure to meet this year's income targets. The authority is £1 million below budget. That is a terrible indictment on this authority. It goes to show that if prices are too high then people simply will not pay to park in our town centres. We are already in that situation and the Cabinet's proposals will just make matters worse.

But what is even more shocking is that the Cabinet Member appears not to have been aware of the level of the shortfall until the last two weeks. If that is true then he is not doing his job properly. Cabinet members should be aware of how their services are performing and should be taking action to address under-performance at the earliest opportunity.

This is gross incompetence from the Cabinet Member and he should consider whether he is up to the task of running our car parks and highways services.

In order to make-up the current year's shortfall, we understand that the Conservatives plan to add the deficit to next year's parking take. That would add an average of an extra 20p to every parking charge. We do not believe that local people can afford to pay such charges and parking income will fall short once again.

Legally, if Cornwall Council wishes to change the parking charge plan they have to go through another full consultation. We believe that lower charges will encourage greater use and so the overall level of income will be higher. That option should also be given in the consultation.

The issue of car parking charges will now be discussed by the Council's Car Parking Panel on Friday before coming back to the Cabinet in February.

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