RESPONDING to Philip Corp’s letter last week, Wiltshire Council has not increased parking charges since 2011. The inflationary increase will not be increased again for four years. In Salisbury that amounts to 20p for an hour, 30p for 3 hours and about 50p for 3 hours. There are minor variations; for example, the Culver Street car park increases are 10p, 20p and 40p respectively.

Profit made from car park charges subsidises non-commercial bus services. There are 28,660 households in Wiltshire without a car (14.8%). In Salisbury there are 4,506 households without a car (24.9%). People without cars need buses to be able to get to work, shop and visit friends and relatives. Currently, Wiltshire Council’s gross income from parking is £7.66m, our costs are £3.971m giving a surplus of £3.695m. Our budget allocated to rural bus services and concessionary fares is £7.838m leaving a funding gap of £4.143m. The inflationary increase will increase income by £708,000, so there will still be a significant funding gap.

Mr Corp thinks parking charges should be the same across the county, regardless of the size of the town and the facilities provided to attract local residents and visitors. Salisbury has the largest shopping offer and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world and so parking demand has to be managed. It would be unreasonable to expect people visiting other smaller Wiltshire towns to pay the same parking charges as Salisbury. It is proposed that all car parks will now introduce Sunday and Bank Holiday parking charges, so Salisbury will not be disadvantaged.

It is correct that residents parking zones are to prevent shopper and commuter parking and that the charges should only cover the administration costs. The current charges do not cover the costs of the scheme, so residents parking zones have been subsidised by Wiltshire taxpayers for many years. The new charges will be fixed for four years and will just cover the administration cost.

The proposal I am now putting forward is that the cost of a residents permit should be £80 for the first permit (22p a day) and £100 for the second (27p a day). I think that is reasonable compared with other running costs of a car.

At the moment, season ticket prices are based on 25% of the daily rate for 240 days; the proposal is to increase prices to 50% of the daily rate, still giving workers and commuters a benefit. The cost of a season ticket at Salisbury station is the same as the proposed cost of a season ticket in the car parks. Wiltshire Council has to try to balance demand from workers and commuters with short-stay visitors. There are Park and Ride sites across Salisbury with free parking. The bus ride into the city is considerably less than the longer stay charges, particularly if you buy multi trip tickets.

Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways and transport