Wiltshire Council is planning to increase parking charges in all council-run car parks in the county - with plans to cut free parking on Sundays and after 3pm in Culver Street.

Proposals include adding 10p per hour on every tariff, introducing charges for parking on Sundays, removing free parking after 3pm in Culver Street, and increasing charges for visitor permits in on-street residential zones.

The council also plans to introduce charges for Blue Badge holders, a scheme that helps those with disabilities to park closer to their desinations.

Wiltshire Liberal Democrats have said it is "particularly cruel" to levy charges on disabled Blue Badge holders who need to drive into towns to stock up on supplies.

Currently, Blue Badge holders can park for free in every Salisbury council-run car park.

Cllr Ian Thorn, Liberal Democrat Group Leader in Wiltshire Council, said: “When the costs of living are going up for Wiltshire residents, the council should not be hitting them with higher charges for parking.

“Meanwhile, putting up costs for everyone and Sunday charging could backfire and leave the council worse off if people stop using car parks because of the higher charges.”

The Leader of Wiltshire Council, Cllr Richard Clewer, said that the proposed changes will "better reflect current inflation levels".

He added that the council has not increased parking charges in four years, and has "no intention" of increasing prices in the next four years.

However, Wiltshire Council's Lib Dem Shadow Finance spokesperson, Cllr Gavin Grant, said that increasing car parking charges would "drive shoppers and visitors away from our High Streets" when businesses are still struggling from the effects of the Covid pandemic.

"It is much better to reduce the High Street budget that ironically provides no direct benefit to our High Streets, business associations or the county’s residents,” he said.

Three proposals - the 10p increase, charges for Blue Badge holders, and introducing charges for Castle Combe car park in the Cotswolds - will be subject to a statutory public consultation through the Traffic Regulation Order process before any decision is made.

Public feedback will be sought for the remaining proposals - including the introduction of charging on Sundays, the removal of free parking after 3pm in Culver Street, and increases for visitor permits in on-street residential zones - through the budget setting process.

Cllr Clewer added: "The proposed changes to our parking services will follow the strategy set out in our Local Transport Plan, better reflect current inflation levels, recover some operational costs and harmonise some of the charges across the county.

“I would encourage people to have their say through the consultation processes to let us know their views.

“These proposed increases in charges will ensure that we can continue to successfully provide suitable and adequate parking throughout the county, while also supporting vital services such as rural buses.”

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