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3,750 back call for one hour free parking

Duncan Hames MP and his parking petition for Wiltshire's towns.

Duncan Hames MP and his parking petition for Wiltshire’s towns.

Wiltshire Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames has presented a petition to Wiltshire Council backing the call for one hour free parking in local car parks signed by 3,750 people – one of the largest petitions ever presented to the council.

Wiltshire Council had agreed to a parking review following a long campaign by Liberal Democrats opposing the parking changes made by the Conservative administration in 2011. The review closes this week and is looking at the future of charges in Wiltshire’s car parks.

In 2011 Wiltshire Council’s Conservative-run cabinet scrapped the one hour free parking across Wiltshire. Liberal Democrat councillors opposed the change and have presented proposals to reverse the charges, rejected by Conservative councillors just last year.

Duncan Hames MP launched his petition to demonstrate the strong feeling of local residents and to support town centre businesses that have to compete with out of town shopping areas with free parking.

Duncan Hames said, “People in Wiltshire have demonstrated their strength of feeling with nearly four thousand people, mostly from Chippenham and Melksham, calling for the re-introduction of the hour’s free parking.

“Local businesses have backed the campaign and shared with me their concerns about the effect on trade caused by these parking charges. We want thriving towns and thriving town centres, creating jobs, and giving shoppers more choice. We need Wiltshire Council’s parking charges to encourage the use of town centre shops.

“I hope the Conservative cabinet will listen to this very clear message from residents and traders. Local people have spoken, and now expect the council to act.”