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Wiltshire Council is reminding residents and business there are just a few days left to have their say in a comprehensive review of car parking across the county.
So far more than 4,100 responses have been submitted by the public as part of a consultation about the council’s car parking policy.
The outcome could see a move away from the current charging for parking based on four bands, to options based on individual car parks or town assessments.
These options will use factors such as usage of car parks and location, as well as looking at the wider economic and environmental issues. This approach gives the council greater ability to manage car parking demand and supply.
The review will also consider a number of charging options, including first hour free parking, free after 4.00pm, Sunday charges, or evening charges as tools to enhance local communities’ ability to use their local services.
The deadline for public consultation is 5.00pm on Monday 19th January.
John Thomson, deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for sustainable transport said, “We are delighted with the response so far. It is encouraging that so many people have taken part in the consultation.
“No decisions on the future of car parking in Wiltshire will be made until all of the results of the consultation are in and analysed, which is why it is vitally important that we get as much feedback as possible from residents, local business and organisations.
“It is possible that some people have planned to take part in the consultation, but have not yet had the time due to Christmas. I would urge them to set aside a few minutes this week or at the weekend, before the deadline expires.
“We want to find the right balance between encouraging people to shop and work locally, the cost of running car parks, and the environmental impact. It’s important that nobody misses out on the chance to have their say.”
All documentation about the car parking review is available to see at consult. wiltshire.gov.uk /portal.
Parking charges in the town have been blamed by some for the closure of businesses in Melksham and led to several calls for free parking to be re-introduced.
The consultation by Wiltshire Council included a one-hour free parking trial in Westbury with the success of that determining what happens in other towns of a similar size, including Melksham.
The review will give local people the chance to have their say and could result in a move away from the current charging system for parking based on four bands across the county, to options based on individual car parks or town assessments.
A number of charging options will be considered including first hour free parking, free after 4pm, Sunday charges, or evening charges.
Melksham Town Councillor Pat Aves believes an hour’s free parking would benefit the town but fears charges may actually be increased. She said, “I’m sure it would help to have the first hour free. I know I would be more inclined to pop into town for the odd item instead of putting it off, or going to a supermarket.
“My guess is that charges are likely to be increased, though, in which case I would really like to see the main car park, which is owned by Wiltshire Council, re-designed and given a proper makeover. Parts of it badly need repairing and it really isn’t a very safe layout for pedestrians.”