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Calls to drop plans to axe Truro's long-stay car parks

Calls to drop plans to axe Truro's long-stay car parks

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 3:16pm 29th January 2020. (Updated at 6:40am 30th January 2020)

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Proposals to axe long-stay car parking in Truro in a bid to reduce the amount of traffic into the city should be dropped, according to councillors.

And councillors accused Cornwall Council officers of not understanding working practices and said that plans to increase the cost of “batch” – multiple – tickets in the city would be a “tax on working people”.

The comments were made at a meeting of the council’s economic growth and development overview and scrutiny committee which met yesterday (Tues) to consider the latest parking charge proposals.

However most of the debate was around the longer-term plans to axe long-stay parking in Truro.

Council officers stated in the report which went to the committee that there was a proposal to end long-stay parking for commuters in 2021/22 in a bid to reduce the amount of traffic coming into the city and free up spaces for shoppers and visitors.

Plans to increase the cost of batch parking tickets had been proposed to make it more expensive than the park-and-ride service in order to encourage more people to use that.

garras wharf car park truro
Some councillors are calling for plans to axe long-stay car parks in Truro to be dropped

 

Truro councillor Bert Biscoe said he had received a large number of comments from people since the proposals were first reported last week.

He said that if the council was planning to introduce such a major change then it was important that they “get people in the right frame of mind”, stating that the “psychology of change” was important.

He added: “Bludgeoning people into submission by increasing parking charges and then announcing that in 2021 you are removing all long-stay parking in Truro is not good psychology".

Cllr Biscoe added: “You are proposing to take two measures that will affect not the well-off people but the people who are struggling to get by".

Councillor Bert Biscoe

He said that it would add to people’s time needed to get to and from work and stressed that time for people was “precious”.

And he said it would also hit businesses which are based in the city – such as estate agents – who have to use their vehicles to go to and from appointments during the day.

Cllr Biscoe said he understood the need to change people’s behaviours and encourage more use of public transport but repeated that it would not happen by “bludgeoning” people and by “weaponising parking”.

He called on the council to “abandon” the plans to end long-stay parking and to increase the cost of batch parking tickets in Truro.

Fellow Truro councillor Loic Rich agreed with Cllr Biscoe, saying: “It is a workers’ tax and a tax on working".

“People don’t own cars in Cornwall as a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity.

“Not everyone who works in Truro works nine to five, some have two or three jobs that they have to get to. This would deeply affect people who live on the edge of Truro".

Councillor Loic Rich

garras wharf car park truro
There are fears the plans to axe Truro's long-stay car parks would have a 'horrendous impact' in workers and jobs

 

Independent councillor Tim Dwelly, for Penzance, also highlighted the fact that not everyone in Truro would be working nine to five and would have multiple jobs.

He said the proposals to end long-stay commuter parking would have “horrendous consequences on people and their jobs” and said the idea had not been thought through.

However Joyce Duffin (Mount Hawke and Portreath) said the council had to do something to try to change people’s behaviours and that Truro was well placed to do so.

She said: “Truro has two park-and-ride schemes, it has a mainline train station, it has good bus services.

“If we are not going to make this system more sustainable in Truro we are never going to make anywhere else sustainable.

“By giving this (current) reduction in batch tickets we are making it more worthwhile to drive into Truro than to use the park and ride – it’s crazy.

“I do think that getting rid of long-term parking is a bit ‘whoa, hang on a minute’ but we do have to consider these ideas.”

She suggested the council should be doing more to encourage people to use the park-and-ride and public transport and said that a “£1 to use the bus anywhere in Truro for the day” could be a possible option to explore.

Cllr Duffin added: “There is never going to be a modal shift unless there is a benefit to using the park-and-ride.”

Geoff Brown, Cabinet member for transport, said he had also had a number of comments from the public about the idea of ending long-term parking.

He stressed that it was only an idea and would not be considered until any time before 2021 and he welcomed any feedback.

However he said there was a need to address the amount of traffic coming in and out of Truro due to the impact on air quality and congestion.

The committee voted to recommend to Cllr Brown that the long-stay parking proposals for Truro should be dropped – that was approved by eight votes to three.

Councillors also called for Cllr Brown to defer any decision on increasing batch parking prices in Truro until after consultation has been completed – that was agreed eight votes to seven.

The parking charge proposals – including a 1.5% general increase – are set to go out to public consultation this week before any final decision is made.

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