Monday, 21 January 2013

Cornwall Council set to sell off Launceston car parks

Cornwall Council has put the Cattle Market car parks in Launceston up for sale.

The authority is trying to sell the site to a supermarket and claims that this site is 'sequentially preferable' to any others around the town. They don't say so directly, but it is clear that they mean the Link Road site which is the subject of a Morrisons application.

I have a number of problems with this proposal:

  1. The council has not bothered to consult with local residents, the town council, the chamber of commerce or formally with local councillors. I had an informal chat with one officer over the phone and I told him I thought this was a joke. I know that Sasha Gillard-Loft, the councillor for the area including these car parks has also said she thinks it is a bad idea. Yet again this seems like a few people sitting in the top floor bunker of County Hall dictating what they think is best for the whole of Cornwall. It is Stalinist central planning at its worst.
  2. I don't see how a supermarket on the site would work. The council admits that access via Race Hill is very difficult and suggests that an alternative would need to be provided. The only option appears to be via a direct exit into the middle of Prouts Corner - which seems bonkers.
  3. Any scheme would be likely to lose car parking spaces in the town. Although the marketing document suggests that the re-provision of parking spaces would be needed, there is no requirement for these and no suggestion of how many might be required. The scoring scheme on which the bids will be judged says that only 10% of the marks will be given to design issues (presumably including parking spaces). There might be a few empty spaces in these car parks at the moment but there is no way that the town could afford to lose them altogether. And what would happen during the construction phase when they would be lost entirely?

I accept that there might be different views on this issue. That is why I have asked the council to put this whole idea on hold until they have formally consulted with local residents and organisations and held a public meeting in the town.

You can read the council's marketing brochure below:


Unknown said...

I reckon another supermarket in Launceston would just about finally kill off the town centre. Don't the officers of the Council ever consider how they will be responsible for extinguishing any individuality or character of the high street? My sympathy...(from Bude)

Paul Loft said...

Their aerial view of the car park was obviously taken before they imposed a £470 price tag on season tickets. Look how many cars are in the top (concessionary) car park.
We haven't had a sunny day since they reduced the price back down.

Call me cynical, but they do now have a year's worth of data showing that top car park is hardly used (thanks to their price hike, which they probably won't mention).

On the plus side, the race hill car park will be free once a supermarket owns it.

Paul Loft said...

I stand corrected having read the blurb. CC to retain lower car park to continue milking the town dry with car park charges.

What a fabulous bunch we have in County Hall at the moment.
I'm now glad we are pulling out of the town.

Jenny said...

Whether you agree with the idea or not, surely County council should be obliged to consult with the residents before asking for bids?
I thought somebody said Launceston was in danger of being overlooked as it is in a forgotten part of Cornwall. Can we go back to being ignored please?

Caroline Thomas said...

Access to Race Hill Car Park and through traffic to town is high, especially during school runs, and holiday season.

Us residents have to cope with lack of car parking spaces in the summer, the build up of traffic school runs, adding another supermarket and the lack of intelligence is going to cause us yet more grief.

Alex i agree, i think as well as residents being consulted, so should the schools too as this will affect everyone.

Anonymous said...

"It is Stalinist central planning at its worst."

It is possibly the worst example of Stalinist central planning *in Cornwall*, *so far this year* (although it was only 21st January.) I am fairly confident that it will be possible to discover worse examples of Stalinist central planning, for example by searching the history of the USSR during the period when Stalin himself was still alive.