A shake up of car parking in Helston could be in the pipeline following discussions about how to transform facilities.

Martin Searle, town centre regeneration officer, has been in contact with Cornwall Council about ways to make it easier for shoppers to park in the town.

This includes the possibility of making the Trengrouse Way car park and the lower Trengrouse Way Extension the same car park, allowing shoppers to drive from one to the other without needing a separate ticket.

Another suggestion that could prove popular if implemented is the introduction of “blue bay” parking spaces, which would allow shoppers 30 minutes of free parking per day.

Drivers would need to put their registration numbers into the machine and are only allowed one such visit a day – a system that already operates in Penzance.

Similarly, the possibility was raised of bringing free parking forward to 3.30pm – from its existing 4pm start time – to allow parents and carers to visit the shops directly from the school run. Mr Searle was told that any changes in policy such as these should be discussed with the appropriate Cornwall Council division member, in this case Judith Haycock.

Mr Searle queried whether the introduction of a new pound coin in 2017 would provide the opportunity for new ticket machines in Cornwall Council car parks, including Helston.

This could allow for payment on exit, giving change and/or issuing tickets for free half-hour parking, rather than having to use the RINGO telephone registration system, as was trialled in Helston in the spring (its success is currently being reviewed).

He was told that while it was possible to convert machines to accept the new coins, as Helston’s equipment was already quite old, the council planned to change the machines in the foreseeable future.

However, the cost of installing equipment to pay on exit was “considerable” – approximately £37,000 per car park for installation and £42,800 per year for running costs, including tickets, maintenance and staffing. That being said, there were policy changes afoot that proposed no longer providing Blue Badge holders with free car parking, which might allow staffing to be reduced.

Discussions also took place over other parking areas in the town.

In response to a question over the fairground car park, the council said the surface was re-graded every spring but to provide a decent surface – such as uPVC or concrete lattice – would probably mean the introduction of parking charges.

Further talks are likely to take place in the near future on the potential impact of angled parking, such as “herringbone” spaces in Coinagehall Street, and more on-street parking on the north side of this street where there are currently yellow lines.

Mr Searle’s report of his conversation with Craig Taylor, West Cornwall area parking manager, is to be presented to members of Helston Town Council when they meet tomorrow, Thursday.