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Council proposes changes to car park charges

Changes to tariffs in Cornwall Council-run car parks, which include measures to cut traffic pollution in Truro and protect free evening parking in the majority of areas are being considered under a range of proposals by the Council.

The proposals to increase car park charges in line with the rate of inflation, as well as reserved parking and season ticket prices, will be discussed by the Council’s Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 28 January. Members of the public can also comment on the proposals, which will be published on the Council’s website, as part of the statutory consultation which begins on Monday 27 January.

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Free evening parking in most Cornwall Council car parks will continue and has helped support local evening economies.  Flexible pay and park options during the day time will also continue, including the option to buy batches of reduced rate parking sessions via JustPark.

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport Geoff Brown said: “We want to keep increases to an absolute minimum and for some areas, this will be the first price increase in two years. These proposals will see the majority of short stay hourly tariffs rise in line with the rate of inflation, rounded up to the nearest 10p, and some longer stay tariffs rising by 20p, again in line with the rate of inflation and rounded up to the nearest 10p.

“Income from car parking enables us to make the best use of our resources and target funding towards maintaining Cornwall's 7,300km road network.  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.”

A key aspect of this year’s proposals aims to tackle the poor air quality levels recorded on Truro’s busy road network. As a result, the proposals include an increase in the cost of batch buying parking sessions in Truro’s Council-run car parks - to £4 per day - as well as an increase in the cost of season tickets.

In 2018 recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide in Truro were almost two thirds higher than UK air quality objectives, with the primary cause being road traffic pollution. Public transport options, such as Truro’s Park and Ride service, offer a cheaper alternative to car parks and keeps traffic away from the city centre.

“The number of people commuting into Truro far outweighs the number of people who live in the city,” said Geoff Brown. “Anyone who drives at peak times will know that while road improvements have helped to reduce the congestion, the roads are still very busy. The answer isn’t always to build new roads – this will just bring air pollution to new areas. We need to help encourage a shift to more sustainable methods of transport - the park and ride is a reliable service and from April we will be extending the hours later into the evenings from Monday to Saturday. And, as we announced earlier this month, we’re planning to introduce a scheme in May which will significantly reduce the cost of bus travel across Cornwall.