St Just Town Council and Cornwall Council have been holding talks over the possibility of the Town Council buying the freehold of the public car parks and toilets in St Just and Pendeen.
There is currently no charge for using the car parks in St Just and Pendeen and the discussions have stemmed from the Town Council’s wish to keep them free rather than have ticket machines installed.
Cornwall Council is considering the future management of a number of small car parks as part of its commitment to encouraging local communities to provide more services locally. As income from car parks is used to support the delivery of frontline services, handing over key strategic town centre car parks to local communities would put additional pressure on the Council’s budget.
However, as these car parks are not currently fee paying, discussions have been taking place with the Town Council over the possibility of buying the freeholds. Any transfers would be based on the market value of the sites. The Town Council is also concerned about retaining the public toilets which have also formed part of the talks on the freeholds.
Following the initial discussions with Cornwall Council, the Town Council now wants to hear the views of local residents before making a decision on whether to accept the offer.
“The Town Council feels that keeping the car parks free, and the toilets open, is essential to the local economy and the tourist trade on which local businesses are dependent” said Councillor Kevin McFadden, Chair of the Town Council’s Premises Committee.
Cornwall Council has commissioned an independent valuation to establish the purchase value. As the Town Council does not have extensive financial reserves, any decision to go ahead with the freehold purchase would mean that the Town Council would have to borrow the money, the repayment of which would fall to local tax payers through their council tax.
“We are aware that local tax payers have already seen an increase in their Council Tax as a result of the decision to enter into the formal agreement with Cornwall Council to avoid car parking charges being introduced this year” said Kevin McFadden. “This is why we want to hear your views on the proposal before we set the precept for 2013 / 2014.
“This is probably the biggest decision that the Town Council has faced in recent years and therefore it’s important that local people have the opportunity to have their views heard.”
Local residents are being asked to forward their views to Elaine Baker, Town Clerk, St Just Town Council, Council Offices, 1 Chapel Street, St Just TR19 7LS or email firstname.lastname@example.org