The streets of Truro have become a battleground for people living in the city and those who drive to work there.
The issue of where to park has reached fever pitch with residents claiming commuters have made their lives “just hell”.
Figures show there are 14,000 people driving into Truro every day and the area in which they can park for free is shrinking.
Residents’ parking schemes have been introduced in some streets but have only made matters worse in areas where free parking is available.
The transport boss at Cornwall Council said the matter was affecting the quality of life of large numbers of people in the city. He admitted he did not have a solution but appealed to the public to find a way forward.
Bert Biscoe, portfolio holder for transport at Cornwall Council, said: “There is a bargain to be struck between residents of a town and the people who commute in to work.
“That bargain is based on the fact that people who live in Truro enjoy a prosperous town which is rendered prosperous by the people who come here to work.
“The bargain is that we, the residents, will tolerate you coming in to town and parking if you respect our need as residents to come and go from our properties and to have reasonable access.
“What I’m seeing and hearing all over town is that the bargain is breaking down. It’s the erosion of tolerance and respect between people who all have an interest in the town.”
Mr Biscoe said the introduction of residents’ parking schemes had been a “critical factor” and had shifted the problem rather than solving it.
He said more and more areas were demanding residents’ parking schemes but if they were introduced everywhere that would leave people on relatively low wages who come to work in Truro with nowhere to park.
Jo Greenslade from Trehaverne Terrace said the parking situation has got far worse. She is reluctant to take her car out during the day as she knows her space will have been taken when she gets back.
For a single mother working as a childminder it makes her life a misery.
She said: “First thing in the morning you can see the commuters with fear in their eyes trying to race to a parking space.
“It’s just evil outside to the point where I don’t want to take my car out in the week.”
Ms Greenslade said three families have moved out of her street because of the parking situation.
“It’s been getting progressively worse over the last couple of years and now it’s just hell,” she said.
On the other side of town the once-crowded streets of Redannick are now empty for most of the day after a residents parking scheme was introduced in December.
Resident Neil Williams said: “By putting in a residents’ parking scheme you are excluding people from outside the area from parking in the day.
“There was not the issue before they put the first residents’ parking scheme in and that concentrated the problem.
“The lesser area you have for people to park for free the worse it gets. The problem is being created by the residents’ parking schemes.”
Mr Williams said he felt it was unfair Cornwall Council were charging for something that was previously free.
For residents the first permit costs £55 per year and the second permit is £68.75 with business permits at £100.
Car park charges in Truro stand at £5 per day in the Moresk car park or £6.50 per day in Garras Wharf with a weekly ticket for £35.
Season tickets are available for the Edward St, Garras Wharf, Moresk, Pydar Street, and Viaduct car parks in Truro at a cost of £228 for three months, £456 for six months or £898 for a year.