FREE parking in Salisbury and Amesbury is set to change from next week.

The changes will mean that from October 1 until Christmas Eve, parking will no longer be free from midday.

Instead, all Wiltshire Council-run car parks will be free after 3pm, Monday to Sunday.

All five park and ride sites will remain free from Monday to Saturday.

Pauline Church, cabinet member for Salisbury recovery, said: “This year’s festive shopping period is even more important for our traders and businesses given the challenges they have faced in the past few months.

"We need to do all we can to continue to encourage people to come to Salisbury and Amesbury and enjoy the array of shops, restaurants and attractions on offer.

“I’m delighted that the council has also agreed that the five park and ride services that serve Salisbury will be free Monday to Saturday, and I would urge people to use them and help to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the city.”

Alistair Cunningham, chair of the South Wiltshire Recovery Coordinating Group, said: “Free parking has had a positive effect on footfall.

"It’s important that we continue to support the local economy in Salisbury and Amesbury; particularly in the lead up to the Christmas trading period.

“The good news is that both Salisbury and Amesbury are getting back to normal.

"All the affected sites in the city centre have been cleaned and it will be business as usual in the next few weeks.”

Wiltshire Council had previously suspended charges in all its car parks in the city centre in a bid to boost trade after the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March saw a drop in visitors.

Then, after complaints from business owners that commuters were taking spaces meant for shoppers and tourists, it was amended to be free from midday Monday to Friday and all day at weekends.

Free parking was then introduced from midday Monday to Friday in all council-run car parks in Amesbury on July 9, in order to support businesses and the community after the second major incident

Clear signage will be displayed in all the council run car parks stating the changes to charges, which come into effect on Monday, October 1.