Today was the second meeting of the Parking Panel. No matter what way you looked at this, there were going to be some very tough choices. Some might say “I am glad I am not making those choices”. Again, like the Taxi Policy there were 6 different Parking Policies and all of them different. Life is never easy post merge.
I, personally and as Chairman of the Panel, did not like the new proposed parking charges. In some areas there could have been a large, and I mean very large, increase. I thought we were going in the wrong direction and felt we could do better.
Sadly it all comes down to a numbers game. We have to raise a certain income from the car parks because we have to fund services, not to mention we have to give Central Government a huge slice of it from taxes raised. In return they give some, but sadly not all, of it back.
So here we were at the cross roads of doom. Accept the report and be ready to be strung up at the nearest tree, or throw the proposed charges out through the proverbial window. What did we do? Well, we lobbed them out of the window. I, and my panel, felt that we should look at this in great depth and consult everyone before we decided (a novel idea in Local Government).
We now have many months to give this subject our full attention because, as I rightly pointed out, parking could (and I think does) affect all the people in Cornwall (that’s over 550,000 people to pee off). We will look into reduced rates, charging, season tickets, pre-paid, Oyster Card type ways to name a few, but I can 100% assure you that we will leave no stone unturned or question unanswered. We have to make a policy that’s fair to everyone in Cornwall and easy to understand; impossible task?
There is a sting in the tail (as there always is). We had to raise the charges across the board. 5% was the total. You might think: “robbing gits, how dare you?”, but a 5% raise is better than a 20%, 50% or 300% raise that a lot of car parks were going to get.
I might add, I don’t blame the Officers who came up with the proposed charges. They were told they had to raise a certain income. It’s hard to keep prices down when you are told you have to raise a certain amount.
So today did indeed drink from the Chalice, it was not sweet tasting, but it didn’t kill me either. I guess there is always another day though.