Yet another parking story - this time the questions that you want Wiltshire to answer
During our reporting on car parking issues in Marlborough and the especially on Wiltshire Council's current parking charges consultation, we have heard and received many queries and opinions. Here are twenty questions that reflect what people have been asking or telling us - and which Marlborough residents could - perhaps should - address to their Wiltshire Councillors and Wiltshire Council leaders:
- Why cannot we see exactly how the 'surplus money' from parking charges across the county is being used this year?
- Why do Wiltshire Councillors still get free parking in any Wiltshire Council controlled car park in the county? With their newly increased allowances they should be able to afford parking charges. (Councillors can have two car registration numbers blocked on parking enforcement officers' hand-held terminals. That way they do not have to have windscreen stickers that identify them as Councillors.)
- Has this privilege ever been costed?
- Why was this privilege not included in the Consultation? Residents might have valued the chance to vote on whether it is appropriate in these times of austerity.
- Has the Council undertaken any impact assessments on some of the more radical changes? If they have not done so, why not? If they have done so, why cannot we see them?
- Has the Council undertaken an impact assessment on the steep rise in permits? Wiltshire Councillors and council staff must realise that this sort of increase will affect how people coming to work in towns park their cars and whether, in some cases, they can afford to continue to work with such an increase in their travel costs.
- Has the Council undertaken an impact assessment on the introduction of Sunday and Bank Holiday charges? How do they think it will affect Sunday shopping in the town, tourists' 'stay time' and even the numbers taking part in the Marlborough Hockey Club's Junior Sunday mornings?
- Has the Council undertaken an impact assessment on the effects of cancelling some of town councils' allocation of free spaces needed for community events? Making Marlborough's Christmas lights switch-on unaffordable may not worry Wiltshire Council now they no longer get income from the street market.
- Why are some permit costs in Salisbury being lowered when the stated purpose of the exercise is to raise more money?
- Why have not the parking spaces controlled by Wiltshire Council in Silverless Street been included in the consultation?
- How much revenue has been lost (against budgeted revenues) this year due to faulty ticket machines (which should have been replaced long ago) and the lack of parking patrols?
- Is this loss of revenue part of the reason for the planned increases?
- Is the frequency of out-of-action ticket machines and the length of time taken to fix them in any way related to revenue from parking fines?
- Why has Wiltshire Council decided not to advertise the parking consultation much more widely?
- Can we see the advice - if any - from the Council's legal team or legal advisers on how the consultation should be undertaken - especially in respect of making people properly aware of it?
- Why is no consideration given to discounted permits for residents?
- Is Wiltshire Council aware of any Marlborough residents parking on public land and claiming it as their private parking space?
- Why is there still no properly signed speed restriction in Hilliers' Yard/Polly Gardens car parks - and only one inadequate sign for a speed limit at the entrance to the George Lane car park? This is especially worrying as people (real people) will soon be living in the new development - right in the middle of the car parks.
- The Consultation itself raises too many questions to itemise here. But just take Option 1 of the Consultation:
You have to tick either that you 'most support' - the across the board inflationary increase in pay and display charges
"Support a reduction in the equivalent funding of public transport and other highway services."
The increase in revenue this change will bring is put at £708,000 per annum. How can residents possibly know what effect a cut of £708,000 will mean to bus subsidies and 'other highway services' - without a great deal more transparency in the way the car park revenues are used by the Council and what those 'other highway services' are?
- Why should we believe that Wiltshire Council really acts as though "everybody matters"?