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Travel around the West Cornwall area is dominated by the private motor vehicle and at present there are few opportunities to leave the car behind and take an alternative mode of transport.

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A 40% increase in traffic volume in the summer results in lengthy queues, ‘rat running’ along narrow local lanes and increased noise and pollution. The congestion problems, exacerbated by a lack of alternative modes of transport and poor connections between them, are discouraging investment in West Cornwall. As a result, unemployment is higher than the rest of Cornwall, there are few high-value jobs and the opportunities for work-related education and training are limited.

A basic ‘park and rail’ facility for 250 vehicles already exists at Lelant Saltings station, part-way along the St Ives branch line. The facility only serves St Ives, in practice, and it can no longer meet the demand. In addition, recent housing development around the entrance has made access to it difficult. No bus services call there and it is not linked to walking or cycling routes serving the surrounding centres.

Transport studies, undertaken in 2005, assessed 11 potential transport hub sites in West Cornwall. St Erth station was chosen as the preferred location, for the following reasons:

  • Good access, just off the A30
  • A large site, with potential for expansion
  • Served by bus and rail (main and branch line services)
  • Regeneration of brownfield land
  • Low environmental impact
  • Potential to serve Penzance, Hayle, St Ives, Camborne and beyond

In response to the initial assessment work, carried out for Penwith District Council, Cornwall Council has developed a scheme capable of attracting users travelling to St. Ives and potentially Penzance and other destinations. It will offer the opportunity to park and ride to a number of strategic sites in the County (Penzance, Truro, Camborne Pool Redruth) and improves conditions for growth by reducing congestion, enhancing infrastructure capacity and improving access.