Wiltshire car park charges increase 'to save buses'

A rise in charges at car parks across Wiltshire has come into effect.

Central Salisbury has been the area most affected, with all day tickets at Millstream and Culver street car parks increasing by more than £3.

Marlborough is the place with the most expensive all-day parking - costing £17.30 at Hilliers Yard and Polly Gardens.

Wiltshire Council has defended the increase in charges as a plan to protect subsidised bus services.

Conservative Councillor Dick Tonge said that the budget for bus subsidies "is under a squeeze, therefore, by increasing car parking charges we're able to carry on with the majority of the buses".

'Very concerned'

The council estimates that there will be an extra £1.6m collected this year from car parking charges to go into subsidising buses.

Mr Tonge, who is the member for highways and transport, said: "The council agreed to hypothecate this money from car parking straight into subsidised buses so it can't disappear on the way."

A number of petitions were launched across Wiltshire criticising the council's decision.

Jayne Carpenter, a website designer from the town Corsham, near Chippenham, led a petition against the increases in Corsham, which have since gone ahead.

Ms Carpenter said: "Businesses in the area are very concerned, we understand the council has to save money but we're not sure that charges are the right way to go about it.

"There are probably four major supermarkets within easy driving distance of Corsham, all of which have free parking so people aren't necessarily going to come to Corsham."

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