Moorfield car park in Truro closed and 'unlikely' to see work to extend life

Cornwall Council has said that Truro's Moorfield car park, which saw its upper storeys close last week following an inspection, has come to the end of its "design life" and that remedial work to extend its life is unlikely to be possible or financially viable.

The ground floor and outside sections of 680-space car park off Calenick Street, as well as a parking area for reserved permit holders, are still open, but the multi-storey sections (decks four to nine) were suddenly closed on Tuesday, May 21.

The local authority was responding to criticism from former Mayor of Truro Bert Biscoe that it had been known "for some considerable time that the structural condition of the multi-storey needed to be carefully managed".

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A council spokesperson said: "Safety is paramount and our aim has been to keep the car park open for as long as possible while it has been safe to do so. Any decision that affects the capacity of the car park is not taken lightly and so this needs to be based on robust evidence.

"Built in the 1970s and, like similar structures across the country, the car park is reaching the end of its design life. Specialist structural advice has been sought and the frequency of inspections increased recently.

"As the structure has reached the end of its design life and design standards have changed since the car park was built, it is unlikely that remedial works to extend its life indefinitely would be possible and financially viable. Last week’s decision to close the upper floors was based on the latest inspection.

"We are in the process of reviewing if measures can be put in place to reopen some of the sections in the short term. In the meantime we are also reviewing parking and travel options for the city."

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There is added pressure on parking in the city since the demolition of the Carrick House and Viaduct car parks last year to make way for the Pydar development, so the sudden loss of the majority of parking at Moorfield has shocked Truro's residents and visitors.

It also shocked former Cornwall councillor Bert Biscoe too, who is urging Truro City Council to demand a mitigation plan from Cornwall Council to replace the lost parking capacity at Moorfield as well the removal of a £31.50 fee if people park for over three hours in the city's Old Bridge Street car park and to provide adequate city centre parking for visiting coach parties.

In his letter to the current mayor Carol Swain, he said: "I am writing to you to ask that you write in the strongest possible terms to the leader and CEO of Cornwall Council to demand that a mitigation plan be put in place, at Cornwall Council's expense, to replace lost capacity, to remove punitive penalty tariffs and to support the town in counteracting the brand-negative messages caused by its recent actions. We should not accept efforts to placate us by talk of redirecting people to the park and ride. Truro relies upon a flexible combination of provision.

"I believe that Cornwall Council needs to engage with Truro... and ensure it recognises the need for fair and adequate parking for both cars and coaches, and will work urgently to restore Moorfield to full capacity, will remove the penalty charge at Old Bridge Street and charge by the hour between 9am and 6pm, and will reverse the current situation at the Fairmantle coach park so that we can offer our visitor-customers a convenient, safe and substantive service."

The council has stressed that parking is available at Truro Park and Ride, which has a total of 2,588 spaces split between its Langarth and Tregurra sites with day tickets costing £2.40. Regular users can benefit from discounts through multi-day tickets.

A list of alternative Cornwall Council car parks in the area can be found here.