Friday, 26 October 2012

Launceston Lib Dems call for urgent action from new parking boss

Together with my colleague Sasha Gillard-Loft and local Lib Dem campaigner Jade Farrington, I have written to Cornwall Council's new cabinet member for highways and transportation calling for urgent action on parking issues in the town.

We have asked Councillor Bert Biscoe to continue the £200 season ticket trial price which is due to run out at the end of October and to extend the deal to other areas of the town where Cornwall Council still charges £470 per year.

The cheaper £200 season ticket deal we secured back in July has been a huge success with more than 100 sold already. It has made a profit for Cornwall Council to help fund local services, but it has also been a welcome relief for town centre workers who couldn't afford £470 per year. The trial period is due to run out at the end of the month and Launceston cannot afford to return to the previous chaos.

We've asked Cllr Biscoe to confirm the trial as a success and make the £200 price permanent. We also need him to extend the deal to the other season ticket areas around the town rather than just limiting it to the Cattle Market long stay car park.

We hope the new cabinet member for parking will also bring a new attitude to pricing. Cornwall Council has treated car parks as a cash cow which can be milked for as much money as possible. That attitude wasn't just harming local shops and businesses, but it was failing to bring in the amount of money needed. The parking budget had to be bailed out twice in the last year alone.

The rising cost encouraged commuters to leave their cars in residential streets as they abandoned the car parks – making it difficult for householders to find a space outside their own homes. Some of those living in Race Hill asked the council for a residents-only parking permit scheme and it is set to come into effect shortly.

We’ve knocked on all the doors in Race Hill and people are very concerned about the lack of information about the scheme. We’re asking Cornwall Council to include the right to park in the Fair Park season ticket car park within the cost of the permit as it is currently almost empty and it would give Race Hill residents a much better chance of finding a space.

We have invited Cllr Biscoe to Launceston so we can show him the devastating effect Cornwall Council’s parking charges have had on the town centre and we will be urging him to lower them when the council’s new tariffs start in April.

This story was covered in the Western Morning News and Plymouth Herald at the weekend.

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