Friday, 6 May 2011

New parking restrictions come into force

The new parking restrictions and charges have come into force in Launceston and I have received a number of complaints.

People are, as predicted, angry about the decision of Cornwall Council to raise charges and there are concerns that shoppers will choose either to go to out of town supermarkets in preference to town centre shops or that they will take a chance on not getting a ticket by parking on the street.

There is also anger about the decision to restrict parking in all but one car park to just three hours at a time. Until now, many people used the town centre car parks for longer stays even though they had to pay slightly more for the privilege. Forcing long stay parking into the Cattle Market car park - up a steep hill and without a safe crossing - is very short-sighted in my view.

The effect of what I think is the stupidest change - raising season ticket prices from £195 last year to £400 this year and plans for £600 next - will not be felt for a while. Many season ticket holders took the chance to renew their permit just before the price rise (even if they still had some months to run on their old tickets).

When these decisions were being made, I argued against the proposal in each case mentioned above, as did hundreds of local residents. Regrettably, the Conservative led Cabinet has decided to press on regardless.

I know that our Town Council is talking to Cornwall Council about taking over responsibility for one or more of these car parks. Given the Conservative's shockingly bad record of managing them - for instance, they didn't even know they were making a shortfall until 10 months into the last year - I hope that these talks hurry up!

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