Boscastle car park fee rise to save toilets?
PUBLIC toilets at a popular North Cornwall destination could be kept open year round – but an increase in parking charges may have to pay for them.
Traders in Boscastle have been left furious after learning that, from today, Cornwall Council has doubled the cost of the first hour in the park opposite the Cobweb Inn from 50p to £1.
Annoyed with the authority's plans to close the toilets, which are part of the car park site, on winter weekdays, representatives of the Boscastle Chamber of Commerce had put forward the idea of raising the fee for the first hour of parking and using the extra income to keep the toilets open.
Cash-strapped Cornwall Council seized upon part of the suggestion and are raising the parking charge from today.
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Cabinet member in charge of car parks, Bert Biscoe, told the Cornish Guardian yesterday that he was hoping to find a solution to benefit the village.
He said he was trying to put forward a trial scheme which would be beneficial to the community without affecting council revenue.
"We will keep to the plan of increasing the tariff for the first hour at Boscastle to £1, but I want to see that extra 50p go back to the parish council for the benefit of the community, possibly to keep the toilets open.
"However, the legal position of whether we are able to do that is still being investigated."
Mr Biscoe said that if Cornwall Council could not give the money to the parish council they would not implement the order for the increase in the car park fee.
He also said the possible payment to the parish council would only be for a limited trial, probably to the end of the financial year next April.
The parish council at Boscastle wrote to Cornwall Council in July saying it was appalled at the decision to close the toilets – the only public toilets in the area – on weekdays from November to March, and to charge for them.
It wrote: "The public conveniences serve Cornwall Council's car park customers, delivery drivers, bus/coach drivers, postmen and so on. Closing the facility during the winter will stop coach parties, and seriously reduce tourism."
The car park has a turnover in excess of £200,000 with running costs of around £80,000.
The toilets cost £19,000 to operate and Cornwall Council offered the parish council a £15,000 grant to take them on. The car park is operated by one council department while the toilets are operated by another.
"Surely the car park and toilets should be considered a single customer entity," said the parish council.