“HUGE” increases to the cost of Salisbury residents’ parking permits were agreed on Tuesday.

The council says the decision would address financial pressures faced by its parking services and would help fund local buses.

But opposition councillors reacted angrily.

Labour’s John Walsh, who represents Fisherton and Bemerton Village, said: “Those residents affected by this decision have no choice as to where they park so must pay up.

“This huge increase, coupled with the city council precept increase of 69 per cent and other increases to come, will cost most residents £400 to £500 in 2018.

“These increases lead back to a failure of central government to properly fund local services. Nothing new there.”

As previously reported by the Journal, car parking charges across the county rose by an average of 12 per cent from February 1.

The council says almost two-thirds of people who responded to its consultation “supported the rise”.

But some have criticised the council’s survey, which gave residents the choice between accepting the rises or cutting subsidised rural bus services.

Conservative councillor Matthew Dean told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the consultation questions could have “perhaps been a little bit more neutral”.

The council says the extra income will fund investment in technology, including automatic number plate recognition for residents’ parking zones, static cameras outside schools to improve safety and body-worn cameras for traffic wardens.

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Parking charges have not been increased through an inflation uplift since 2011 and the cost of operating car parks and public transport is continuing to rise.

“Along with the increasing demand on our budget, we have introduced new charges to mitigate some service reductions.”

Under the new permit system, residents will pay more for second cars. In limited waiting zones, permits will rise from £20 to £50 for the first car and £70 for a second vehicle. And in residents-only zones, the charge will rise from £40 to £80 and £100.

Conservative councillor Atiqul Hoque said he had secured residents an extra two hours’ parking a day, plus the option to pay by direct debit.

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