Hundreds of locals have expressed outrage at the decision to charge motorists to park at Perranporth’s beach car park from next month.
The car park, which has previously only charged for parking during the summer months, will begin its trial 24 hour tariff this Friday in a bid to keep the public toilets open.
Visitors will initially have to pay £1 for a four hour stay and £2 for up to 24 hours between November and March, with prices increasing during the summer season.
After hearing the news, over 200 people turned to the Please Listen Perranzabuloe Parish Council Facebook page to discuss the changes.
Allen Fleckney posted: “This will be one negative mess for a town that should be promoting free car parking in all parks in the winter and being creative with some winter festivals to get people to come here in the winter weekends and enjoy this beautiful place, not just hope they will turn up and park where we can get another quid from them.”
Denise Burrell, owner of Pavilion Ice in Perranporth, also raised concerns about how the decision will affect local businesses.
She said: “It is a great shame that they are doing it for the winter. In the summer it would be a lot better as there isn’t a lot that people want to do in Perranporth when the sun isn’t shining.
“We have a lot of people who pop down from Goonhavern and St Agnes for a coffee or to pick up some shopping - and that is what keeps the village going.
"Now they are either going to go to the Co-op or Weatherspoons and use their free parking. The family run shops in the village are going to miss out.
The beach car park and its toilets are operated by Perranporth Gardens Charities group.
The charity currently receives a subsidiary from Cornwall Council to run the public convenience.
But due to next year’s budgetary cuts, the charity is not sure how much, if any, future funding they will receive.
As such they have introduced the car parking charges in a bid to safe guard the future of the toilets.
Tanya Higgins, secretary of the Perranporth Gardens Charities, said: “We’ve got to have toilets in the car park and it’s just something that we all need to work together on to ensure that we keep them open.”
“We know since St Agnes closed the toilets in their car park they have had problems with defecation, and we don’t want that in Perranporth.”
Despite the hundreds of complaints some locals have recognised the necessity of the scheme.
Perranporth resident, Ron Vigus, said: “I suppose most people will be sensible and recognise that in today’s financial difficulty this sort of action needs to be taken.
“But what I think most people are upset about is the lack of communication for the decision which was taken.”
Free parking will still be available in two other car parks in the town.