The introduction of parking meters would "kill" Falmouth's town centre, although residents' parking schemes are being supported by councillors, but only if it is what the majority of those who live in the affected areas want.

Cornwall Council published plans to introduce on-street pay and display parking on many streets in and around the town centre and is also considering implementing residents' parking zones in 12 areas of the town from Stratton Terrace through to Pendennis Headland.

While there was a mixed reaction to the residents' parking when the scheme went before Falmouth councillors, they were unanimously opposed to the on-street parking charges.

Committee chair, Candy Atherton said: "In my ward (Smithick) people are saying they mostly want residents' parking, but there are concerns about the on-street parking."

Cllr Steve Eva, though, suggested the town council should reject both proposals, claiming there were "not fit for purpose." He added: "If it comes in I reckon it will kill the town completely because you won't be able to park anywhere within quarter-of-a-mile because of the parking meters or permit parking. It will do more damage to the town than anything that has come before us before.

"I recognise in some parts of the town there are needs for residents' parking, but I am concerned it would be pushing cars out into other parts of the town that would not be covered. We should turn it down completely. It is just a money making scheme."

The proposal to reject both schemes was lost on the casting vote of Cllr Atherton, as committee chair. A second motion to oppose the introduction of the parking meters at all proposed locations, but not the residents' zones was passed by nine votes to four.

Cornwall Council has been told the town council feels the parking meters would be "detrimental for the trading environment of the town centre and further discourages people from visiting." It would prefer to see pay on exit in the car parks along with "reasonably" priced, shorter duration season tickets, cheaper parking costs, an enhance shuttle bus service and increased and better targeted enforcement.

With regard to the parking permits, the town council believes the 12 zones could be introduced but only where the majority of residents want them. However, members have put forward a list of issues and controls they want addressed.

These include: permits to be reasonably priced, say £35 per year; permitted vehicles to be limited to two per property; better enforcement and control of camper vans and people sleeping in vehicles; provision to be made for visiting care providers and provision for "cross pollination of permits." There are also concerns that displacement parking will cause problems in neighbouring areas where permit parking is not proposed.

The results of the public consultation over the parking proposals are due to go before Cornwall Council's cabinet for discussion in the coming months. If it is decided to go ahead with them, there will be another period of formal consultation before the final decision is made.