Car Parking Charges - Protest Letters

Wednesday 19th May 2010

Charles Morgan has asked us to display 2 letters he has sent in concerning the proposed car parking charges in Lerryn so please have a read of these and if you want to write yourselves please do so to keep the pressure on those who would have us paying to use the village car park.....



Andrew Wallis                                   
Parking Policy Advisory Panel              
Cornwall Council                                            
Dolcoath Avenue
Camborne TR14 8SX                                      

21 April 2010
Dear Mr Wallis,
In relation to the enclosed car park questionnaire I live close to the village centre so rarely use the car park myself, and while I cannot speak for the other villages in Group 3 I can tell you that as far as Lerryn is concerned ANY form of compulsory car-parking charging is wholly inappropriate and will be rigorously opposed by locals who regularly use the shop, post office, school and community centre.
Yes, we villagers may on occasion groan inwardly at the number of cars parked in the village, but the very idea of a stranger to the village being welcomed by an officious notice (such as one would normally see in urban areas) demanding them to put money into a ticket machine would be wholly out of place in a village such as Lerryn or small town like Lostwithiel. This would go against the informal welcoming image which is part of the charm of Lerryn.
Having worked in the public sector myself, I can just see the thought bubble of C.C’s bureaucrats getting excited at the prospect of rural village car parks becoming “revenue opportunities” for other pet projects. Might these include refurbishment of council offices or even new-build - or possibly as a means of meeting councillors’ “expenses”? Sorry guys, this just ain’t going happen - so acquaint yourselves with the real world of AUSTERITY! (And PLEASE, no more silly logo changes). So Lerryn will NOT be part of another grubby revenue-raising scheme. The costs of running the village car park must be absolutely minimal (the odd patch of tarmac here and there?) compared to any revenue C.C. may be hoping to raise from parking changes at Lerryn.
Quite apart from the Lerryn issue, when it comes to parking in towns a thorough review of the whole issue of parking charges is well overdue. Small businesses in town centres have been suffering for years while out-of-town superstores offer free parking. If the playing field is to be levelled parking charges should be levied at out-of-town retail parks as well. This may be easier said than done at existing car parks for the likes of Tesco/Morrisons/Asda but where new stores are proposed a condition [of planning] should be imposed that C.C. would LEASE land for car parking for users of the stores to the store owners, but impose its own charges as in town centres. Of course the superstores would resist but C.C. should be tough, otherwise it could be accused of caving in to the interests of the supermarkets while continuing to destroy small businesses, as have so many unimaginative local authorities in the past.
Yours sincerely
Charles Morgan
12 May 2010
Dear Mr Wallis,
Further to my handwritten letter of 21 April a typed copy of which I now enclose, I have had some further thoughts on the matter. Somehow our little community at Lerryn has managed to survive against all odds and our shop, post office and pub survive, but parking charges would be just another nail in the coffin. But putting that and the strong views I expressed in my earlier letter aside, I cannot (as a former civil servant) see that you have any legitimate business case for introducing parking charges in villages such as Lerryn.
Consider this - the car park in question at Lerryn has just 26 (marked) spaces. I am unfamiliar with the capacities of the others in Group 3 - probably rather higher though unlikely to exceed an average of 50? The point though, is that the cost of revenue collection from such car parks in Group 3 is bound to be significantly higher. If you appointed just one extra warden to patrol the Group 3 cluster of car parks, then he or she with the best will in the world, would be patrolling substantially fewer parking spaces than an equivalent warden on foot looking after much larger car parks in Bodmin or Truro. Then you have to factor in a substantial amount of non-productive (rather slow) time travelling between the various Group 3 sites as well as the warden’s actual travel costs. Appoint one or two additional wardens to share the load and the already lower productivity of your single Cluster 3 warden falls dramatically per head. Then there is the capital cost of ticket machines which would still have to be maintained even though issuing a fraction of the tickets of similar machines in urban car parks. The list probably goes on…
Of course C.C must raise revenue to discharge the  public services for which everyone clamours but its dogged pursuit of car-parking revenue from Cluster 3 villages suggests an unimaginative and blinkered approach which is frankly out of place for any progressive local authority. There is of course a far less painful and fairer approach which you really should be considering and you should start by asking yourselves the following:- How many free parking spaces are there in supermarkets, retail parks and out-of-town superstores and how much potential revenue do these spaces represent, were these C.C. car parks? To impose parking charges on these private sites as a means of raising C.C. revenue in the short term would be well-nigh impossible, but you should give serious consideration to hiking the business rates of the said supermarkets, retail parks and superstores to raise the equivalent revenue. It would be for them to decide whether to introduce their own parking charges, increase their prices or reduce profit margins to pay their fair share. Such businesses would of course protest but progressive local authorities really do have to stand up to and not be dictated to by them. It would also be a condition of any new planning application for retail premises with car parks above a certain size that the local authority would either run these car parks themselves, or that equivalent additional business rates be imposed. It should also not be forgetten that unsustainable business rates and parking charges have already killed off thousands of small businesses and turned numerous town centres across Britain into run-down, vandal-infested ghost towns. Time to redress the balance…
So to me there is no contest between these two alternative approaches - the first bureaucratic, unimaginative and antagonistic; the second progressive fair and highly efficient even if new legislation were needed, but I believe the new government would be highly sympathetic.
Yours sincerely
Charles Morgan


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