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No swap planned for Penryn car parks
6:00am Monday 9th December 2013 in News
COUNCILLORS in Penryn decided on Monday to retain the lease on Permarin car park and not to take over the lease of that on Commercial Road.
The council held a public meeting on Monday, December 25, attended by around 40 residents and traders, in which it was asked whether it would be beneficial to swap the leases on the two sites, making Permarin pay-and-display and Commercial Road free to use.
At that meeting councillors heard the traders opinion that if Permarin became pay and display, it would guarantee parking near to the shops, and the reason current shopping spaces were underused was due to lack of awareness.
It was also suggested that a pay and display would increase parking for residents after 4pm, and discourage cars being left for weeks at a time.
However residents said charging shoppers to park would reduce footfall, the swap would mean a longer distance to walk for shoppers, residents, and workers, and also aired safety concerns over parking in Commercial Road.
Having received around 50 emails in the week following the meeting, the council debated whether or not to retain the lease on the car park they owned, and purchase the other site from Cornwall Council to extend free parking across both sites, at an additional cost of £10,570.
The proposal consisted of three parts: to take over both leases, to promote the use of shoppers’ spaces in Permarin, and to provide better signage for both car parks.
Councillor Martin Mullins said while the council should do everything it can to support the traders, it would be unfair to ask tax payers living elsewhere in Penryn to residents who use the two car parks in question.
Councillor Mark Snowdon agreed it would be wrong financially to take on the lease of Commercial Road, but pointed out that the problem was a long term one that would only get worse.
It was suggested by councillor Chris Smith that there had never been a better time to approach Cornwall Council with an offer to purchase the free hold, to which councillor Mary May said the town council would not be able to make either pay and display, but could only pay for them through council tax precepts.
She added that the town could ask Cornwall Council to lower its parking rates in Commercial Road, and that there was a limited number of season passes that could be purchased by individuals.
Councillor Cait Hutchings warned that due to a Cornwall Council review of car parks, if the Commercial Road site remained underused there was a chance it could be turned into social housing, but suggested that discussing prices with the council could lead to lower parking costs.
The council passed an amended proposal, that the lease be retained on Permarin car park and the council works to improve awareness of shoppers’ spaces, while the Commercial Road site remains with Cornwall Council, and signage for car parking around the town be improved.
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