New car park charges: is there more pain to come?
Wiltshire Council have confirmed the general 'inflationary increases' in car parking charges across the county - which we reported yesterday. However, a statement from Counnty Hall today (January 4) implies that there may be more pain to come. The overall increases were covered by just one option - Option 1 - of the six options outlined in the consultation that ended on November 23.
The statement says that 63 per cent of the 1,400 people who took part in the consultaiton favoured this general 'inflationary increase' as the best way to protect services that rely in part on parking revenues - these include some subsidised bus routes.
The increases already announced - Option 1 in the consultation - will also fund investment in customer service – including automatic number plate recognition for residents’ parking zones,
static cameras outside schools to improve safety and body worn cameras for parking enforcement officials.
The statement continues: "Other funding opportunities submitted from consultees were considered and we are grateful for all the proposals." But it then says that Wiltshire Council's cabinet - or decision making group - will be considering the six other options that were outlined in the consultation.
These options are:
Option 2 - Introduce Sunday and Bank / Public Holiday charging at all car parks
Option 3 - Charge in all Wiltshire Council car parks [i.e. start charging in car parks that are now free of charge]
Option 4 - Move the free event parking offer in November and December to other times of the year [would make Marlborough Christmas lights switch on unsustainable]
Option 5 - Base season ticket prices on the standard rate charges [which could mean some very large increases]
Option 6 - Harmonise resident's parking permit charges
Option 7 - Reduce the period of time or parking grace from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in all car parks
Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to this important consultation, it really has helped us decide on
this first option.
“We don’t want to increase parking charges, however they have not increased since 2011 and the cost of operating car parks and public transport is rising. Along with the increasing
demand on our budget, we have increased parking charges to mitigate some service reductions.
“It is vital we strike the right balance between covering the increasing costs and supporting local communities. I believe this decision, while extremely difficult, will provide the best result
when viewed across all of the services we deliver.”
FOOTNOTE: Option 3 would have no impact in Marlborough. It would include car parks that are now free of charge from the 77 spaces in Devizes' Market Place to a car park
with four free spaces in Warminster. Other car parks that are now free of charges are in Melksham (Station car park), Trowbridge, Malmesbury, Amesbury and Westbury.