Council proposes changes to car parks

Charges in Cornwall Council-run car parks, prohibiting overnight camping in motorhomes in more car parks and changes to reserved permits are being considered under a range of proposals by the Council.

The Council today published a statutory notice inviting comments on proposals to:

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  • increase car park charges by 3.1% in line with the rate of inflation  
  • change Reserved Permits to reflect feedback, with prices to be tiered according to the number of vehicles a permit may be used in
  • respond to local concerns and ban overnight camper vans in more Cornwall Council car parks
  • amend the terms and conditions for drivers with Blue Badges

Full details of the proposals can be found on the Council’s website and comments can be submitted up to 01 February 2019.  

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport Geoff Brown said: “The proposal to increase charges will see some rates rise by 10p or 20p but with many staying the same. Income from car parking will enable us to continue making the best use of our resources and target funding to help maintain Cornwall's 7,300km road network.  Cornwall’s roads are some of the best in the country with the Council rated as amongst the top 25% in the country for keeping our main roads in good repair. Without the income from car parking charges, the Council would need to increase council tax to generate the same amount of funding.

Whilst we receive about £9.7 million net income from parking each year, Cornwall Council is spending £45 million on maintaining the condition and safety of Cornwall’s roads and 2,700 bridges and retaining walls, as well as the car parks themselves.”

Cornwall’s Positive Parking Framework is set to be a benchmark standard for local authorities who, like Cornwall Council, have aligned  their parking policies and operations to the Positive Parking Agenda, a national initiative supported and assisted by the British Parking Association.

As part of the Positive Parking Framework, there is recognition that the current system of having 123 different charging rates across Cornwall's car parks does not make for efficient operation and can be confusing for motorists who are charged differently at various locations.

Geoff Brown said: “There is much work to do if and before any proposed changes are made to the current system. We will be looking at how we may apply tariff bands and which zone might apply to specific car parks, taking into account demand and location. Any proposals to change how much is charged if tariff bands are introduced will be the subject of extensive liaison and consultation.”

Until that liaison and consultation takes place on the possibility of introducing tariff bands, the proposed 3.1% increase means that income from Cornwall Council car parks keeps pace with inflation.

Free evening parking in most Cornwall Council car parks will continue and has helped support local evening economies.  We’ll also be continuing with flexible pay and park options during the day time, such as being able to buy batches of reduced rate parking sessions via the JustPark telephone payment and offering seasonal permits at a reduced rate.

Geoff Brown said: “We have been talking to stakeholder groups including the Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) about how the pricing structure of car parks can help reduce congestion, how we take into account local concerns and priorities and how our car parks continues to support the local economy.”

Richard Gates Falmouth Town Manager and Richard Wilcox Falmouth BID Manager say:  “On behalf of the Falmouth Town Team (a partnership between Town Management at Falmouth Town Council and the Falmouth Business Improvement District), it is a big step forward to work constructively with Cornwall Council in developing a more balanced tariff structure for the town. While we would like to see further reductions to pricing in the future, this significant first step can allow us to achieve that by directly influencing the individual tariffs as long as the projected income targets for Cornwall Council can be achieved. We have looked in detail at every car park in Falmouth, as well as all the time slots to see if we can make improvements, offset by a nominal evening charge. A Traders meeting at the end of last year unanimously supported our proposals for a more fair and balanced approach.”

Positive Parking Framework plans include:-

  • The introduction of Pay On Exit technology to replace Pay & Display machines in 12 car parks in 8 towns to encourage users to remain longer in town centres, without the worry of their parking session running out. 
  • A trial to enable Care Quality Commission accredited carers to park on the street and in Council car parks whilst providing care services to vulnerable people
  • A review of the role of our Civil Enforcement Officers as better use of technology means that they will be freed up to visit more areas that are not currently frequently patrolled, to ensure that traffic congestion through illegal parking is reduced.
  • Improved directional signage, contactless payment, discounts for residents and businesses, raising awareness of season tickets and other payment options, and mobile camera technology to help with more efficient enforcement or targeted enforcement around schools and colleges will support reductions in traffic congestion.

A copy of the draft Order may be inspected at any Cornwall Council Information Service (check locally for opening times) using the public access computers. Copies may also be viewed at on the Council's Consultation Finder page. 

Representations (objection or support) to the proposed Order should be in writing and received by 01February 2019 - addressed to: Parking Services, PO Box 664, Truro, Cornwall TR1 9DH, to by email to parking@cornwall.gov.uk or via the online consultation page. 

 

Story posted 09 January 2019