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Council proposes parking charges increase to help safeguard rural bus services

LOCAL people are being asked to have their say on the options to review car parking charges in Wiltshire to help safeguard rural bus services.

Wiltshire Council says that a review of parking arrangements in 2014 introduced individual car park charging based upon usage, which saw an overall reduction in charges and meant that the council’s car parking service has remained relatively unchanged since 2011. However cost pressures on many council services has resulted in a need to consider a review of current parking charges to ensure that vital services can continue.

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and transport said, “We don’t want to increase parking charges, however subsidising public transport is so important in a rural county, and without income generated from car parks we could lose many vital bus services.

“We are therefore asking local people and businesses how the extra funding could be found. We really are open to any options and welcome comments and ideas.

“It’s important that we strike the right balance in our towns and city and how they are accessed. We need to focus on improving the environmental impact caused by vehicles, along with the need to cover the cost to provide car parking services.”

The proposals, which will be considered at cabinet on 12th September, also contain investment in a number of technological and operational improvements to improve customer service. These include parking bay sensors, automatic number plate recognition for residents’ parking zones, static cameras outside schools and body worn cameras.

The council says that the consultation provides an opportunity for people to feedback their views on the options.

Any surplus revenue generated from car parking is used to help fund essential local bus services.

Following the cabinet meeting on 12th September, the consultation will begin later in the month and will last for eight weeks. People can get involved by visiting www.wiltshire.gov.uk