Residents and business owners are rallying to challenge a proposal by Cornwall Council to build homeless accommodation pods on Commercial Road Car Park, Penryn. The car park would be reduced from 78 to 32 spaces to accommodate the units, according to Council plans.

“Building six pods at a loss of 30% of Penryn’s entire supply of off-street parking just doesn’t make sense”, said Cornwall Councillor Tamsyn Widdon. “What we need are real homes and safe parking”.

Members of the community will gather at the car park on Thursday, August 4 to voice opposition to the plans and call for the council to site the units at a more suitable location.

In April this year Penryn Town Council Planning Committee voted unanimously to object to the proposal. Town councillors pointed out several empty flats in Penryn and alternative sites that in their opinion were better suited for temporary housing and ripe for development. However, Cornwall Council has not withdrawn the proposal.

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According to the planning application, Commercial Road Car Park was chosen for the pods because “even at peak times in the peak season a maximum of 30 spaces are occupied at any given point in the day.”

But locals claim the council’s data is both misleading and out of date. “We carried out our own surveys in April and found that the car park is often full or nearly full”, said Andreas Sterzing, a Penryn resident. “Whenever there is an event in the town Commercial Road car park is the only available place to park safely.

"Penryn’s streets are narrow and on-street parking is hard to find as students and holiday visitors compete for space with long term residents. The nearby Permarin car park, where parking is free of charge, is always full.

Another resident Michael Cant said. “In the last five years the car park has become much busier. It’s a reason the businesses along Commercial Road are flourishing.”

Mr Cant said the car park was crucial for businesses in Penryn as well as for local permit holders, including disabled residents who have nowhere else to park. “My mother is a blue badge holder and uses the car park every day. She is worried sick about what happens if most of it is taken away.”

Cllr Widdon said, “Cornwall Council’s housing team are keen to push this through simply because they already have the pods and haven't found anywhere else to put them, but there are brownfield sites throughout Penryn much better suited for these - and more - pods, but it depends on private landowners stepping up to make their land available.

“Plonking pods in a car park just because it's ‘the easiest place’ to put them, doesn't make it right.”


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Members of the public are invited to the Real Homes, Safe Parking meeting at 5.30pm, Thursday 4 August 4 at Commercial Road Car Park, Penryn to show support and discuss solutions to housing and parking issues in Penryn.