CAR parking charges will increase across Wiltshire after councillors voted in favour of the proposals.

It came after a two-and-a-half hour debate at Tuesday's full council meeting (February 15).

The Liberal Democrats had put forward an amendment calling for the proposals to be scrapped.

Leader of Wiltshire Council Richard Clewer said the amendment was "economic illiteracy" and "morally bankrupt".

The new changes mean that car parking charges will go up by 10p per hour on every tariff, as well as charges to be introduced for Blue Badge holders, a Sunday charge introduced in all car parks, and free event parking removed from Town Councils.

Leader of the Lib Dems, Cllr Ian Thorn, said that during the meeting that there will be a ‘tangible and significant’ impact from increasing car parking charges, and the leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Rogers, also supported the amendment.

Salisbury Journal: Extra 10p parking announced across Wiltshire. Photo: Trevor PorterExtra 10p parking announced across Wiltshire. Photo: Trevor Porter

In his amendment, Cllr Thorn said that the net impact of the removal of the increases on the budget would be £0.686m for 2022/23 and £0.120m for 2023/24 and he proposed that this money could be taken out of the £1m High Streets budget for those years.

In response, Cllr Clewer said that the future of the high street relies on a transformation which can be supported by the high street fund, and spoke about the impact of the internet, as well as the need for improved retail, restaurants and experiences to drive people into town centre.

He also said the Conservative administration "has a clear plan for the future of our towns", but accused the Lib Dems of lacking a coherant strategy and playing politics for short-term gains.

LIb Dem Cllr Paul Sample read out a series of correspondence from his ward residents heavily criticising blue badge charges.

Speaking ahead of the vote on the amendment, Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, cabinet member for transport, waste, street scene and flooding, said it would have been "the worst possible moment" to reject the proposals, and added that the council is bringing itself into line with other local authorities' charges.

Read more: Does Salisbury have the most expensive car parks in Wiltshire?

He also clarified that blue badge holders will be able to park on the street for three hours - as long as there are no loading restrictions - and that Sunday parking would be a flat charge for a whole day ranging from 50p to £1.90 depending on location.

He adds that he understands why the increase would "make people nervous", but says that the Conservatives are here to "govern the county responsibly".

He also said that the proposals will mean that he will have to pay more himself just to park outside his own property in Salisbury.

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