Cornish Parking Anger

Anger in Cornwall about rising parking charges in council-run car parks. More than 5,000 local residents in South-East Cornwall signed a petition against the rise in their area, but Cornwall Council ignored it and doubled the fees in Liskeard, Callington, Saltash and Torpoint. ‘They’re playing into the hands of the big out-of-town superstores, where parking is usually free,’ said one local resident. It is the latest in a series of council car park charge rises in the region that are leaving Cornish taxpayers bothered about their impact on the local economy.

Last year, Newquay car parks raked in just over a million pounds, charging drivers £1.10 an hour or £10.80 for the day. Some local businessmen welcome the charge as they argue it is mainly paid by tourists and makes up for money siphoned away from the area by central government, but so far, Cornwall Council has refused to reveal what this money is spent on. Such swingeing fees certainly encourage locals to shop in supermarkets that provide free parking, rather than using their high street suppliers.

Away from tourist hotspots, hundreds of local beach users have protested against prohibitive parking charges in Gwithian. An extension of parking charge hours into the evening has hit local businesses. ‘It means about 15 to 20 per cent less business, particularly during the early parts of the season,’ said one local cafe owner. ‘People have started to park anywhere else to avoid the fees and by doing so they often block access roads.’

In Redruth, parking charges have gone up by 400 per cent, discouraging visitors to the town and impacting on local shops. Coaches, previously given free parking, are now being charged £10.00. ‘Dick Turpin would be proud of these charges,’ said one opposition councillor. ‘They are daylight robbery.’

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