Parking charges freeze in Wiltshire 'not enough'

Parking charges in Wiltshire are to be frozen until 2014.

Conservative-run Wiltshire Council says the move is designed to encourage more customers to visit the county's shopping centres.

But business leaders say the freeze is not enough and want parking charges reduced.

Mary Mallia of the Federation of Small Businesses says the council should "keep a watchful eye on the consequences" of not cutting prices.

"While it's important that they raise money, if people aren't using the car parks because they are too expensive, they won't make any money from it," she said.

Wiltshire Council increased parking charges in April in order to protect subsidised bus services.

'Balanced view'

Council leader Jane Scott said public transport would suffer if parking charges were reduced.

"Profit from car parking actually supports many of our bus services, for example in Wiltshire, and if we were to put it down any more... then what we would have to do is probably take money away from buses.

"So we think we have actually taken a really balanced view."

Business owner and member of the Bradford-on-Avon Chambers of Commerce, Caroline Philpott, said: "We want to encourage people to stay in the town as long as possible."

While there will not be an overall charge reduction across Wiltshire, there will be a 10p cut in the cost of one-hour parking in Salisbury, Trowbridge and Chippenham.

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