SALISBURY’S park and ride scheme is losing £1million a year.

And when the Petersfinger site opens later this year it will add £150,000 to the annual operating deficit.

The figures were confirmed by Dick Tonge, cabinet member for transport, at a Wiltshire Council meeting held on Tuesday.

But the council has received £3.5million in parking fees and fines from the Salisbury district since last April.

A breakdown of the figures obtained by cllr Brian Dalton showed income of £2.9million from ticket machines, and £304,000 from fines in the city alone.

The council admits the high charges are intended to encourage people to use the park and ride.

It is developing a new parking strategy, and has been looking at proposals to divide the county into four charging bands - Salisbury being the dearest - though this would be subject to consultation.

Cllr Paul Sample claimed the council saw Salisbury as a “milch cow” to subsidise the rest of the county.

“Given the enormous amount of money that comes out of Salisbury you might think our streets are lined with gold,” he said.

“They are, in fact, lined with cracks, gaps, splits and fissures. They’re in a pretty rotten state. Quite a lot of residential roads haven’t been resurfaced for two decades.”

He asked for the next year’s fines to be used to fund repairs.

But cllr Tonge said that after costs, the net parking income from Salisbury was just £850,000.

Tisbury councillor Tony Deane believes the park and ride system should be shut down.

Earlier this week he told the Journal: “Salisbury is too small, there aren’t any bus lanes and it clearly doesn’t work. Nobody sane would continue losing these sums.

“However, now is not the time to jack up the city centre parking charges to try to cover the losses.

“And the council shouldn’t even be thinking of introducing parking charges in places such as Mere or Tisbury, against the wishes of local people, until it can get Salisbury sorted out.”

Cllr Tonge said that without park and ride spaces, the central car park could not be redeveloped as part of the Salisbury Vision.

“The council accepts that it is going to have to keep subsidising park and ride,” he said. “It’s just a question of to what degree.”