Great News for Car Parking Charges

You might have to pinch yourself, but something strange happened at Cornwall Council’s Cabinet meeting today. After a lengthy debate, the majority of Cabinet Councillors voted and supported the Parking Panel’s recommendations to freeze car parking charges for 2013/14. Just to repeat in case you might have misread, freeze car parking charges.

This will no doubt be welcomed by the public and traders. It is the first time in the authorities history, that car parking charges have been frozen. Credit should be given to those Cabinet members who took the brave and bold decision to go against the recommendations of an 3.2% increase across the board and go for the zero increase. However, not all Cabinet members voted in favour, as four voted for the increase.

The Parking Panel has long argued that just adding a figure on to a budget predictions is not the most sensible way to go in raising revenue. As that budget target has yet to have been reached, and is predicted for a shortfall of £1.6m for the year 2012/13. This freeze will allow a better picture of how car parking is working (or not working) in areas. This has been hard to do before, as year each year a percentage has been added, which has made it difficult to monitor how well the service is functioning.

I also welcome Bert Biscoe, the Portfolio Holder which car parking comes under, has tasked the panel answer the question of is car parking revenue a business or service. The panel has wanted to get to grips with this question, but has been thwarted until now.

So congratulations to the Cabinet for approving a zero rise in car parking charges for next year.

7 comments

  • Gill Martin

    Question is, who voted for the increase, openness and transparency and all that.

  • Gill Martin

    Question is, who voted for the increase, openness and transparency and all that.

  • neil

    “Great News for Car Parking Charges”, for the vast majority, would be a decrease in charges or scrapping altogether. This may encourage more people into town centres which is desperately needed. Has the parking advisory panel considered that the predicted shortfall of £1.6million could actually be because people are staying away, as they can’t afford to pay parking charges? Are the car parks full? Does demand outstrip supply of spaces? Perhaps a more sensible approach would be to reduce charges for car parks which have spaces available, and this may actually increase usage and subsequently revenues. Sad that this county and many other parts of this country seem to be obsessed with car parking restrictions, rules and charges. In an area where most accept that a car is a necessary means of getting around, it seems absurd that parking is such a nightmare.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Hi Neil,

    Yes the Parking Panel has taken into consideration why the budget fails to meet its target year on year. The main reason is the budget target is set too high. Until that has been addressed, the target will always fail to be met.

    We also know that high charges do have an effect on people using the car parks. The Panel has introduced the £1 for 2 hours in many areas. But as I said, if the target budget is set too high, those tariffs set to make that money wll be too high.

    Lastly, the economic position of the country, the endless march of new supermarkets and the real threat of online retailers have had an impact of the high-street. I am grateful to the Portfolio Holder has now tasked the panel to answer the question; is car parking and the associated charges, a business or service. That answer has a direct impact on how Cornwall Council should charge for car parking

  • neil

    Hi Andrew Thanks for your response on this. It seems bizarre to agree a budget which it sounds as though will never be achieved. I would like to know on what basis the budget has been calculated, if it is not based on historical facts and set unit prices. I agree that there is an impact on the town centre, brought on partly by the hassle of parking up, paying at a machine and being restricted on time. Compare this with the more relaxed experience of visiting a supermarket or shopping on the web, and it’s a no brainer really. I am reassured that consideration is being given to whether parking and associated charges is a business or service. To some extent, I think it depends on where the car park is. If it is where there is direct competition from other parking providers, then it could probably been seen as a business, in terms of there being a choice to the consumer. At beaches and in small towns though, where only council car parks exist and public transport is limited or non-existent, I would expect these to be considered a service to support local businesses, and also a service for the community to get outdoors and enjoy their surroundings, which should be at minimal cost.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Yes Neil, it is. Many car parks in the winter period are £1 all day, including Porthleven

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