A redruth trader has handed in a petition with more than 5,000 signatures to Cornwall Council asking it to reduce its car parking charges in the town.
Tracy Hellings, who runs Bits’n’Bobs on Alma Place, is being backed by more than 20 local businesses and Redruth Town Council who say the parking charges are putting off visitors and shoppers.
The petition calls for the council to replace its current charges of £1 for up to two hours, and £3 for two to three hours, with a 50p fee for up to two hours and £1 for two to three hours.
Mrs Hellings said fewer people were shopping in the high street, with many customers complaining about charges at the Flowerpot and New Cut car parks, and the fees should be reduced to bring trade back: “We believe this would be fairer and entice more customers into the town and help struggling businesses.”
She had hoped that the petition would force a debate on the parking charges during today’s full council meeting.
But despite applying to the council within its deadline, she was told that the debate would not take place because it had not been put on the agenda.
She said: “I am disappointed. I did everything I was asked and Cornwall Council didn’t put it on the agenda.”
In an email to the businesswoman, Cornwall councillor for Redruth central, Mike Eddowes said: “It is not listed on the agenda. If it was, it could be presented at full council and it would have to be debated there and then. It cannot be because all the signatures need to be counted and verified and if correct it will come back, I presume, to the next full council.”
Councillor Henry Biscoe, for Redruth central, said he wanted the parking charges to be reduced even further, adding: “I would like to see a 20p parking charge. Bert Biscoe, (his brother and Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for transport) during his visit to the town council in February, said he wanted parking to be run as a business and not just as a means of raising money.
“Each town should be taken on its own merits rather than having blanket charging. 20p is throw-away money for 30 minutes. The high street would be packed.”
Derek Eaton, who runs Crystal Image on Fore Street, said: “I can't see how cutting parking charges by 50p will make any difference to the council. Because 50p is peanuts compared to what they are now making on parking fines and I know for a fact that customers have left the car park rather than pay £1.”