Sunday, 11 December 2011

Penzance parking....

I live very near to the middle of Penzance and parking is a great problem on my street and lot's of the residential streets nearby. Many people that shop or work in town, park in these streets rather than pay to park in Cornwall Council car parks. I don't really blame these people, parking is very expensive and as we all know there is a recession at the moment, people have less money due to stagnation of wages and rising costs or if they own a business a reduction in trades and profits. Still parking is a major issue here as I blogged a while ago about the Penzance Liberal Democrats campaign to get action for the town at Cornwall Council. See that post here.

For a number of reasons parking has been on my mind, firstly the problem seems to be getting worse and personally getting parked legally means hundreds of yards away from my house and unfortunately outside somebody else's house on another street. Secondly, the traffic wardens are doing great business in Penzance, yesterday afternoon (saturday) at about four in the afternoon the warden came around and ticketed 6 cars that I saw on this street and who knows how many more on other streets. The third thing that has made me think about it more, is the emptiness of some of the car parks in town. In the evening the two car parks at the top of Causewayhead are almost always empty, which implies that the pricing system is out of sync with demand. Also twice in the last fortnight I have been past the St Anthony long stay car park down near the Jubilee Pool. There's no doubt that this car park will be better used in the summer but this is the kind of car park that workers should be encouraged to use. Both for the benefit of Penzance's residents and for the fact that these resources need using not going to waste. Instead here's how the car park looked on the first of December just before midday:

Then the next day at about twenty past nine:
It is clear that the parking policy of Cornwall Council is failing, there are obviously not enough incentives for people to park in car parks, in other words the "carrot" is not enough. Also the "stick" as harsh as it may be (£35 for parking on a single yellow line) is not working it may be making money for the coffers in Truro but it's no good for Penzance, for residents, for businesses or indeed the image of the council. Besides which the council should look to getting people to park in car parks and raise revenue in a less shabby way.

So I got to thinking, what is being done about this? What have Penzance councillors been doing to solve this crisis in our town? How have they been keeping up their campaign that featured so heavily in local newspapers? Unfortunately for the people of Penzance, not a lot at all. Cornwall Council has a Parking Policy Advisory Panel that discusses parking policy (both enforcement and car parks) and informs the Council's cabinet on recommendations. This panel gives councillors opportunity to raise issues in their areas and influence parking policy. So this is the ideal forum for Penzance's councillors to stick up for Penzance and tell Cornwall Council what we need and want. So I was a little disappointed that checking the attendance statistics that none of Penzance's Lib Dem councillors (Mario Fonk, Ruth Lewarne and Tamsin Williams) have attended a single meeting of the panel since their public campaign see here.

Well done to them for getting leaflets printed, getting in the newspapers and highlighting the issue of Penzance's parking but any Tom, Dick or Harry could've done that, what Penzance needs from it's councillors   and what Tom, Dick and Harry can't do is go up to Truro and influence council policy and fight our corner. Honestly Penzance deserves better.