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Car park income collapses
THE collapse in income from a Salisbury car park has led city chiefs to consider freeing it from the control of Wiltshire Council.
Salisbury City Council’s services committee heard income from the Southampton Road car park, which is part of Churchill Gardens, had dropped from between £21,000 and £24,000 per year to £2,000.
City clerk Reg Williams said the pay-and-display car park, which is operated by Wiltshire Council on Salisbury’s behalf in return for a fee, had run at a loss, which last year amounted to more than £5,000.
This year, Salisbury had asked for the ticket machines to be covered up, so the car park is free and costs less to administer.
A report to councillors by Mr Williams said the Southampton Road car park and the Lush House car park, which adjoins Queen Elizabeth Gardens, are part of a charging structure that Wiltshire Council, which has greater legal powers on traffic matters, had insisted was linked to its car parks.
This meant the city council could not set its own charges and when Wiltshire Council increased its charges dramatically in 2011, the Southampton Road car park income collapsed.
It had also suffered from the recession and the opening of the Petersfinger park and ride site, meaning students at Wiltshire College could park there without charge.
“It’s a bit of a double whammy,” said Mr Williams.
Mr Williams said Salisbury had asked for Southampton Road and Lush House to be freed from the covenant linking them to Wiltshire Council’s charges.
But he added that as Wiltshire would be reviewing its parking charges after Christmas it was sensible to see what came out of that review before any decisions are made on how the city council wants to proceed.
Cllr John Collier said one improvement badly needed was new ticket machines: “The current ones are appalling,” he said.
Mr Williams said Wiltshire would look at such matters, including machines allowing people to pay on exit.
It was agreed that the city council should await the outcome of the Wiltshire Council review.
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