A Journey Around Cornwall

Thursday 11th August was my last meeting of  talking about car parking charges with Cornwall Council’s Councillors via the Community Networks. The reason for these meeting was to get the views from my fellow Councillors on how car parking charges should be administered in their areas.

In the past I have tried to gather their views, but this has not been that successful. Out of 123 Councillors, only 65 replied to a questionnaire. Even fewer have turned up to any of the panel meetings. So this time I decided to go to them.

It was a very interesting process with some very good debates and ideas. It was clear that my fellow Cornwall Councillors felt the ‘one size fits all’ does not work when it comes to the charging for car parks. During the process it was explained that I (as Chairman of the Parking Advisory Panel) had no control as to how much was raised by these charges, because that figure had been set by Cabinet.

What could be done is to adapt the various tariff prices to suit the area it covered. With a few clicks of a spreadsheet it could be easily worked out where you could do the changes without losing revenue. It also came down to how charging for car parking should be treated in certain areas.

For many towns it was apparent that whilst cheap one hour charges are good, they do not encourage people to stay longer, and therefore shop longer. With the one hour charge it allows people just to nip in, but in reality people who nip in generally park in the streets in the limited waiting bays, or side-streets they know of. 
These towns wanted a better two hour rate than the current charges that offered (cheap one hour, but the two hour jumped steeply). After a click or two of a spreadsheet it worked out that these towns could have up to two hours car parking for £1. Smaller areas felt that they did not have the shops for a two hour stay and wanted cheaper one hour. This was also made possible, and some got 20p for the first hour.
Some towns wanted a different rate for summer and winter. If the charges were raised by a small percentage in the summer it could almost pay for free car parking in the winter. For one large tourist area, raising one tariff by 10p allowed free or almost free car parking in the winter.

A few areas did not want any changes (including any raises) as they felt the tariffs and charging periods were right for their area. Of course many (including me) feel that there should be a more reasonable income taken from charging, but alas, this is not within my powers.

What also was refreshing was Councillors from all parties worked together to get what’s best for their area. With party politics put aside solutions could be found. It is a shame there is not more of this cross co-operation.
Overall I felt this process worked, and from the feedback I have got back most Councillors were happy with the end result. Sadly one Community Network’s Councillors decided it did not want to meet me, which is a pity, as it represents a very large area and has many car parks located within it. I did send another email asking for them to reconsider, but they didn’t.
Now all this data will be collated and put into a report that will be presented to the panel in September for its approval. It will then go to Cabinet who make the final decision. Then, it will go out to public consultation which will finish early December. Then back to the panel for any final tweak, before it goes to Cabinet for the final approval.
Special thanks should go to my Vice-Chair Shirley, Peter and finally Kate, whose skill with a spreadsheet was a thing of magic.

Lets just hope Cabinet accept the panels recommendations without any extra raises. 

7 comments

  • Gill Martin

    sounds very productive. Although I personally think that if a network councillor refused to meet with you, then they are not much good as a community network manager. I personally think the public have a right to know which area they cover.

  • Sandy Angove

    Tonight I heard that Cornwall Council is proposing to introduce charges on our hitherto free car parks in St Just and Pendeen. Our car parks have always been free and the Town Council has been trying to get a dialogue with Cornwall Council since the inception of the Unitary Authority with a view to our taking them on. No progress at all, no surprise if they had intended all along to put charges on. What has happened to Consultation? has it been abandoned on cost grounds? How long do we have to wait…..

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    It is not Cornwall Council who is proposing it is the Councillors from the Community Networks area.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    furthermore, there will be full public consultation on any changes (as there is every year) on any proposed changes.

  • Anonymous

    Does not matter who is proposing it. It is not going to happen in St.Just. Cllr Colin McClary

  • Anonymous

    Dear Andrew
    this is related to the above, but not sure how to post a blog to you otherwise. I've just spoken with Superfast Cornwall, the company overseeing the roll-out of the superspeed broadband to Cornwall. I was worried that Porthleven doesn't even feature on their map of places to receive the new service – hence calling them.
    It turns out that Porthleven is lumped in with Helston as it's on the same exchange. The potential problem is that there will be two types of roll-out: 1. fibre optic cable to the exchange and fibre optic to the business/domestic dwelling or (the quickest option) 2. fibre optic cable to exchange and then traditional copper wire from there (slower).
    As Porthleven is seen as part of the Helston exchange, it could well be that the fibre optic cable stops at Helston and no where in Porthleven at all will get the fibre optic cable. There are 100 exchanges in Cornwall all receiving fibre optic cables until the end of 2013. Even small villages like Mawgan, Constantine and Mawnan Smith will receive fibre optic cables. Given the size and growth of Porthleven it seems reasonable to ask for Porthleven to have it's own cable to the village.
    Is anyone on Porthleven TC looking into this problem please? It seems like a once in a generation chance to equip businesses (at least) in Porthleven with a technology to rival almost anywhere in the world.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    Dear last anon,

    Can you drop me an email as I can explain the current situation

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