Putting an ANPR camera in the middle of a popular Falmouth beach in an AONB would mean intruding on peoples' privacy, a former mayor has claimed. 

However, at a meeting of Falmouth Town Council's planning committee on Monday evening, councillors were told that in the case officer's opinion the application for Maenporth Beach would be difficult to resist as the site was already a car park.

The application to install the camera has been submitted by Citipark to install the ANPR camera on a pole on the beach side of the car park.

ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition which registers vehicles as soon as they enter the car park.

The full application is for a car park management system featuring an ANPR camera, associated signage and Pay and Display machine.

The pole with the camera on the top would be used to monitor parking at the car park with the payment machine installed at the entrance to the car park, along with a building mounted camera.

Falmouth Packet: Site plan of the park showing the positioning of the car park furniture. The site of the pole is shown as a red dot.Site plan of the park showing the positioning of the car park furniture. The site of the pole is shown as a red dot. (Image: CAD Architects)

The car park is currently operated by Life’s a Beach café although the businesses name does not appear on the application.

Former mayor and committee chairman Cllr Steve Eva said in his opinion if you were going to have a camera there you were going to intrude on peoples' privacy.

However Cllr Alan Jewell said they had a similar case come up at the county council a couple of years ago and it had been refused because it was thought that the pole mounted cameras would be an intrusion.

"They are more suited to a town centre car park, not here," he said.

However there has been support for the application on the Cornwall Council planning portal.

Tom Roberts commented that after speaking to the cafe owners he supported the application as there had been a lot of anti-social behaviour that the cafe staff had had to deal with.

"The owners have had to deal with lots of anti-social behaviour over the past few years and also overnight parking on the car park which they said is strictly not allowed.

"By installing ANPR this will reduce the anti social behaviour and overnight parking on the car park becuase people will be penalised for this and rightly so.

"The owners have also assured me that the car park will remain free during the November-March period whilst offering cheaper parking rates than there current flat rate they offer during the summer months, a great idea.

"The cafe mentioned they have to mantain the car park throughout the year, filling in potholes at a great cost to them. Therefore they have every right to acess parking revenue to help them maintain the car park and keep it at a high standard."

Falmouth town council's planning committee voted to recommend refusal of the application on the grounds that the proposal was visually intrusive in an AONB and is in conflict with Policies 12, 23 and 24 of the Cornwall Local Plan.