Friday for me was a good end to a busy week for reasons that I will now explain. My first appointment was with the Mayor of Falmouth, its Town Clerk and a senior member of that Council. I had been invited to this meeting on my favourite subject of car parking and charging.
To be honest when a Town Council wants to meet with me to discuss parking and charging I never know what to expect. Sometimes it can be hostle, or I sit there and listen to comments about Cornwall Council more interested in money, than people. I guess this goes with the territory of being the Chairman of the Parking Advisory Panel.
No hostility this time, as I was met with a coffee and a saffron bun. That is a good start in anyones book. The meeting started with me explaining the current situation and how it would affect Falmouth. I also had the chance to tell them what was really happening and to dispel the ‘rumours’. I am sometimes really surprised as to how these rumours start and are so different from the facts. In a lot of cases, far worse than the facts.
What was also surprising that it was not the normal “we want the car parking for free”, but sensible ideas for Cornwall Council and Falmouth Town Council to work together to achieve something that was of benefit to both. They the Town Council have the local knowledge to know how different carparks work and if that was fed into Cornwall Council, then just maybe we could make both parties happy. Falmouth did not ask to be given any special treatment, but just wanted to make peoples trips to Falmouth better. I for one can’t argue with that.
I will be looking forward to what they come up with and how we (as the Panel) can help them. For me personally I like this approach, it is far better than the placard, marches and the hostile way some areas approach this subject. I always feel that sitting around a table talking is a better way of achieving something than trying to listen to that view via a megaphone.
My role and that of the Panels is advisory. This Panel wants to help and work with other Councils, but it has to be a two way dialog that results in give and take from both sides.
The last meeting of the day was in Helston about money available via the Regional Growth Fund. A lot of money is available and bid projects have to start at £1m. The Helston and Lizard area could really do with this investment. Any project has to be private and public sector, with at least half the money coming from the private sector. This means businesses will have to get their cheque books out first.
This was the second meeting on this subject and is still in the very early stages of sitting around a table with various businesses. I was there after being volunteered by the Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration and the other Cornwall Council Community Members that this area covers. Basically I am a link.
It was decided that the best way forward is for the South Kerrier Alliance (subject to board approval) to be the main leads on any project. They also have a proven track record with obtaining £1.8m in funding for the redevelopment of the Helston Cattle Market. The plan is to work up a bid for September. The timeline is tight, but it would be foolish just to ignore this pot of money as it could make real difference to the area.
As I said, it was a good day to end a busy week.