At this evening's Launceston Town Council meeting, a group of the town's traders brought a plea for lower parking charges.
The basic message they were conveying was one with which I wholeheartedly agree: that the town centre is losing out massively to out of town stores and that part of the problem - and certainly a way of redressing the problem - is through parking charges.
The Town Council runs the multi-storey car park and the traders were asking for the first half hour of parking to be free with, perhaps, the second half hour costing 20p. They had done their research and had found that the cost of a barrier system to enforce the system (and to make life easier for motorists who wouldn't need to guess how long they would be in town) could be repaid in about three or four years.
The traders had also looked at abuse of the current multi-storey. They found, through surveying three times a day, that more than 90 cars had abused the system in a week. They reckoned that the potential loss to the Town Council was around £10,000 a year and that this money would be claimed back by having a barrier system.
The issue will now be considered by the Town Council at a committee meeting and I want to congratulate the traders for their excellent work.
After their presentation, I talked to the traders about what Cornwall Council could do and I will be taking their message to the Parking Policy Panel which meets tomorrow to consider some aspects and next month to consider car park charging.