PLANS for cheaper parking in Newquay during the summer are being mooted to boost footfall in the town centre.
Under the proposals, residents and visitors could benefit from cheaper afternoon charges during the peak season in car parks next year.
The move is part of a scheme to ensure shops and businesses are busy all day and is one of two aimed at lowering costs for people during the holiday season.
The second scheme would see the start of the more expensive summer charging period moved back from March 15 to April 20, to allow people to park at the reduced rate for longer.
The plans are being spearheaded by Cornwall councillor for Pentire ward, Joanna Kenny.
She said: "We believe this a real chance to reduce charges for our residents in the shoulder and summer season without affecting the income from visitors that Cornwall Council relies upon to fund vital services.
"Our first proposal is simply to make this summer date movable – preferably to coincide with Easter but at least the start of the school holidays. That will at least put back the time in 2014 when, as one of our shopkeepers put it, the stream of customers was turned off like a tap.
"The second, more important scheme, is for the whole summer season. We know that, despite the high fees, in summer our central car parks are packed full from mid-morning to mid-afternoon but then empty out. Our proposal is to provide a cheaper rate from 4pm."
Ms Kenny said there was "no guarantee" the council would support either proposal.
Meanwhile, support is mounting for a campaign by residents in Newquay to get winter parking reduced, or even free. Some residents argue that the town's car parks are sitting empty during winter because of the "expensive" parking rates.
However, Ms Kenny said most of Newquay's long stay car parks are now free in winter and a £1 per day winter charge in St George's Road, Mount Wise and Albany provided "cheap and convenient" parking throughout the town.
Cornwall Council said in a statement that Newquay's 15 car parks give "ample" options for free or cheaper parking during the winter season – including three of the five car parks which are within a short walking distance of the town centre.
The spokeswoman said: "There is still demand for the car parks at Fore Street and The Manor which generate a winter income of around £57,000. We have been approached by Cornwall councillors for the area to run parking trials in Newquay and are currently investigating options for this, however these relate to the summer charges, rather than winter. As yet no trials have been suggested for changes to the winter charges, however we are willing to consider proposals."