NIGEL Walsh’s thoughtful letter about car parking charges in Salisbury (Postbag, April 12) merits further discussion.

The transport consultants involved in the current Salisbury Transport Strategy refresh are of the view that transport continues to impact on air quality in Salisbury, that there is an oversupply of city centre parking and that car levels in Salisbury are high despite short distances travelled to work.

They also make the point that Park and Ride is underperforming and there is poor connectivity of the pedestrian/cycle network. They suggest that the objectives of any Transport Strategy for the city should include the reduction of air pollutants, encouraging walking and cycling, increasing public transport patronage (including Park and Ride), and reducing the need to travel by car.

No other conurbation in Wiltshire attracts the numbers of visitors who want, quite rightly, to come to Salisbury, and if they all opted to come by car the city would be unable to cope with the resultant traffic congestion and difficulties in finding parking spaces.

I am sure we all want to see Salisbury recover swiftly from recent events, but it is a shame that Wiltshire Council did not opt to use funding made available for this purpose to back up the objectives of the Salisbury Transport Strategy rather than to undermine them.

Free bus travel for all is a step which has been proposed nationally (by consultants ‘Transport for Quality of Life’) and various places in France have already become ‘fare-free’, with the aim of reducing traffic and parking problems, making a town more liveable and walkable, and helping those many people without access to a car.

Could Salisbury follow suit and lead the way in showing how people might get into the city without the problems that cars can bring?

Margaret Willmot