Wiltshire Council proposal to raise parking charges
Proposals are going before Wiltshire Council's cabinet next week (September 12) for a review of parking charges - with the aim of increasing them.
The Council says their car parking service has remained relatively unchanged since 2011: "However cost pressures on many council services has resulted in a need to consider a review of current parking charges to ensure that vital services can continue." One of the options the cabinet will be discussing is putting the imposition of Sunday and Bank Holiday parking charges out to consultation.
The 'vital service' that the announcement says may benefit from any rise in parking charges is the Council's subsidy for rural bus services: "Any surplus revenue generated from car parking is used to help fund essential local bus services."
However, the Council also want to improve their car parks with "...investment in a number of technological and operational improvements to improve customer service. These include parking bay sensors, automatic number plate recognition for residents’ parking zones, static cameras outside schools and body worn cameras."
It looks very much as though the rise in parking charges is mainly designed to pay for these improvement.
It is said that the income from some of the Council's car parks has been reduced recently by the reduction in the number of Council staff checking payment and issuing fines, and also in the number of parking machines that are out of use at any one time.
Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We don’t want to increase parking charges, however subsidising public transport is so important in a rural county, and without income generated from car parks we could lose many vital bus services."
“We are therefore asking local people and businesses how the extra funding could be found. We really are open to any options and welcome comments and ideas."
“It’s important that we strike the right balance in our towns and city and how they are accessed. We need to focus on improving the environmental impact caused by vehicles, along with the need to cover the cost to provide car parking services.”
The cabinet will be deciding which of the following options should go to public consultation:
Option 1: Apply an inflation increase to all parking charges
Option 2: Introduce Sunday and Bank / Public Holiday charging at all car parks
Option 3: Charge in all Wiltshire Council car parks
Option 4: Discontinue free event parking in November and December
Option 5: Base season ticket charges on the standard rate charges
Option 6: Harmonise residents’ parking permit charges
Option 7: Reduce the parking grace period to ten minutes
The announcement implies that the proposals will be nodded through by the Council's executive cabinet: "Following the cabinet meeting on 12 September the consultation will begin later in the month and will last for eight weeks."
Watch marlborough.news over the coming weeks for a specific web address to access this consultation.