Plans approved by the city council’s policy and resources committee on Monday could see parking for more than five hours rise to £9, while prices for shorter term parking could be reduced to encourage visitors.
Residents were outraged when Wiltshire Council hiked up the all day parking charges in Salisbury to £7.40 in 2011, and workers were among the worst hit.
Now the city council has suggested charges of £1 for an hour (currently £1.40), £2 for two hours (currently £2.50) and £3 for three (currently £4.20), jumping to £5 for four, £7 for five and £9 for over five.
Cllr Tom Corbin, who chaired the working group, said it was important to get the balance right – encouraging shoppers to come to Salisbury and spend more time and money in the city, while still persuading those who want to stay much longer to use the park and ride services.
He said: “It is important that pricing reflects the product. Too high, as currently and people are turned off. Get the price right and people will stay longer. Wiltshire Council will have to accept the possibility there may be a short term drop in car park takings. However, we are confident this will only be a short term blip and income will quickly recover and in time exceed current levels.”
The group also felt the economy of the city would benefit greatly if a ‘pay on exit’ system was put in place in all the car parks and that restrictions that make some car parks short stay only should be removed.
They suggested Sunday parking should be free, and a different charging structure should that prove not to be viable.
Cllr Corbin said: “It’s a work in progress; there’s still lots to achieve. It’s a compromise. We still have to encourage as many as possible to use the park and ride and the only way to expand running hours is to have a greater turnover.
“Wiltshire Council could choose to ignore it but it would be very foolish of tem as we are in the best place to say what we feel the city needs.”
The report will now go to the next full council meeting and if approved will then be sent to Wiltshire Council as the city council’s official position.