Councillors have voted to accept controversial proposals for the repurposing of a town centre car park, despite one councillor claiming it will be the end of Falmouth.

At a meeting of the full council last Monday (June 19), councillors voted to accept a consultants’ report on the options for Church Street car park.

Falmouth’s Place Shaping Board, of which Falmouth Town Council is a partner, commissioned local architects Lavigne Lonsdale and Cornwall-based Inner Circle Consulting to deliver a new vision and master plan for Church Street Car Park.

Future plans for a waterfront car park in the centre of Falmouth involve five options which the town council has voted to accept, despite there being no money for any of the options to be taken forward. A Packet poll taken at the time found that 73% of the votes cast were in favour of the site remaining a car park

Town clerk Mark Williams told councillors that the council made the decision to carry out a consultation last year and now the consultants have come back with the masterplan.

“I want to make it clear this isn’t a commitment to approve any version of it or a particular option,” said Mr Williams. “It’s just to accept that masterplan and to endorse that we’re happy to receive that.

“There will be extensive consultation if and when the money becomes available to activate any of those options. We would then go back to public consultation again to see who wants what version.

“There is no money to do this now.”

He said the council needed to endorse the masterplan to use it as a lever for external funding.

Falmouth mayor Kirstie Edwards, taking her first meeting as mayor, also emphasised that point saying: “This Isn’t a decision to do this right now, it’s just to accept the plan so it’s ‘oven ready’ if and when the money comes to do it.”

Cllr Jude Robinson said other towns were getting millions of pounds to spend on funding to improve their towns and Falmouth was not in the running because it didn’t have plans to do so.

“This council has signed a climate emergency and Cornwall Council has talk about wild fires and tides and rising sea levels but on the other hand we’re saying we’ve got to have parking for cars,” she said.

“All the evidence is that the more you cater for cars the more people use them. Yes, we have to cater for people with disabilities but there is a different future ahead of us. It’s a future in which I hope the main street of Falmouth won’t be one of the most polluted streets in the country.”

John Spargo said parking was the key and that’s why a lot of people were upset.

“Central parking needs to be sorted out,” he said.

He said he didn’t agree about pollution because solutions were being made, so we shouldn’t get rid of the car.

“It’s an important mode of transportation for some people and it’s not going to be polluting in the future because someone’s going to come up with a solution to it,” he said.

Cllr Steve Eva said people had said they wanted to pedestrianize the town centre when they voted for the neighbourhood plan and they were here to represent the people.

“The only way to do that is to remove the car park in the centre of town,” he said.

“I totally agree that we need parking around the town and I don’t think it’s helpful that Cornwall Council are talking about getting rid of the park and ride to make it boat storage for 12 months a year, I think it’s a crazy idea.

“The trouble is towns are dying, it’s not that you can’t park in the towns, it’s people shopping online. So there’s got to be a reason for people to come into town.”

However Cllr Alan Jewell said at the moment there was no alternative parking in the centre, therefore he could not accept any of the proposals.


Five year old child dies after falling from harbour wall in Cornwall

He said he knew that a lot of people from outlying areas wouldn’t bother visiting if they knew the Church Street car park was closed.

“They won’t go shopping in Falmouth, they’ll go elsewhere,” he said. “We’re driving trade away from the few left in the town to different places.

“If you finish the car park in the centre of Falmouth, you will finish the town.”

Cllr Zoe Young said with the appeal decision on the development of the old Marks and Spencer building, it was just not going to be possible to fully pedestrianize. Councillors voted to accept the consultation.

However Cllr Jewell voted against and Cllr Young abstained.