LEADING Salisbury City Councillors have slammed Wiltshire Council over "difficulty" when paying for parking as machines are awaiting repair.

Visitors parking in Salisbury are forced to use MiPermit, an online parking app, and are unable to pay using cash after some council-owned machines in the city centre are out of service.

This comes after Wiltshire Council stopped free parking for blue badge holders in Salisbury and upped prices by 10p per hour per tariff on Thursday, September 1.

Read more: Higher charges and Blue Badge holders must pay in car parks

Councillor Annie Riddle, of Harnham West, is the chair of the Salisbury Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group. She said: "Salisbury traders can’t afford to see shoppers and visitors deterred from coming here by difficulty paying for parking.

“Many people, particularly older folk, expect to pay by cash and some will be reluctant to use other systems. The very least we can expect is that these other systems should be reliable and easily accessible."

Salisbury Journal: An out of service parking machine in the MaltingsAn out of service parking machine in the Maltings (Image: Tom Corbin)

The parking charge changes were agreed by Wiltshire Council in February, as part of the budget-making process for the financial year 2022/23 and were subject to public consultation through the Traffic Regulation Order process.

Andrea Pellegram, director of Andrea Pellegram Ltd and professional consultant for Salisbury Neighbourhood Plan, is 5ft1 and was unable to pay for parking as she couldn't reach the QR code.

She said: "The only way you can pay is using the QR code on the lamp post sign, it’s so high that a person my size could need a stepladder to get close enough to download it.

Mrs Pellegram enlisted the help of two Australian tourists who were able to reach the sign. She added: "Thankfully, my new Australian friend was taller than me and he held my phone up for me to get the code! The whole thing took me 10 minutes."

One visitor told members of the SOS - Save Our Salisbury Facebook page that they "gave up and went home" as they don't own a phone capable of using MiPermit.

'There is no reason to maintain short stay car parking'

Councillor Tom Corbin, mayor of Salisbury, told the Journal that his wife, Cllr Caroline Corbin, paid for tourists' parking after they "could not get the app to work".

He added: "It is bad enough that visiting tourists who arrive at most of our car parks feel that they have to leave within 3 hours of arriving. With so few big employers in town there really is no reason to maintain short stay car parking only in our city centre car parks.

"It is clear Wiltshire Council's policy change is doing even more harm to the city's tourism and also causing further harm to those living in and around Salisbury."

"I intend later this afternoon once to write to Richard Clewer reflecting on some of the conversations I've had and requesting urgent action on this."

Jane Booth, a resident of Salisbury, is calling for "radical change" from the council in their approach to helping Salisbury businesses. She said: "Yes, emissions and climate change are important, but so is the survival of the High Street.

"Provide free or cheap public transport and people may use it more. However, there will always be those who have to drive and they shouldn’t be penalised."

The price to park in Salisbury had not been increased for four years and Cllr Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council, says there is "no intention" to up it for another four.

Cllr Clewer added: "The new charges will better reflect current inflation levels and rising operational costs, and also follow the strategy set out in our Local Transport Plan."

Wiltshire Council were contacted for further comment.

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