YESTERDAY (Thursday) I had to catch a mid-morning train from Salisbury to London for a meeting and evening appointment. I left home in good time to drive to the station, knowing it was a lottery whether I’d be lucky and coincide with someone having arrived off a train just ahead of my own arrival and vacating a parking space. There wasn’t one.

Plan B: I drove to the Central Car Park near the Maltings, as advised on notices at the station. Having driven along every row in the long term section, I established there wasn’t a single space there either.

Plan C: I drove to the far end of the Churchfields industrial estate, before finally finding a free curb where I could legally park. I walked to the station. I missed my train. Fortunately I had not bought a fixed advance ticket. I did however have to reschedule my meeting to a later time.

Last night I arrived back in Salisbury just before midnight, with a 10 to 15 minute walk through a deserted semi-lit industrial estate to reach my car before I could drive home.

Salisbury is the nearest station to where I live, but the stress of not knowing whether the train can or can’t ‘take the strain’ means that from now on I will seriously consider whether a 17-mile half-hour drive to Andover (and a cheaper train fare) is preferable to the stress of trying to travel from Salisbury.

Could someone from the Council Planning Department please explain why they have now – as I understand from station staff – three times rejected a planning application to build a two-storey station car park on the existing site, similar to the very unobtrusive one which has now eased a similar parking shortage at Andover Station in Hampshire?

My experience yesterday was not a one-off and will be familiar to many other local residents. How can the Council justify this as providing an adequate and safe transport network for the people of Salisbury and the surrounding area?

Finally, I realise that the experience of not finding any available space in the Central Car Park was most likely due to the welcome provision of free parking to encourage more visitors to return to the city centre following recent events.

Apart from my own parking plight, surely this also sends a message to both Wiltshire and Salisbury City Councils, that local businesses would immediately benefit from more visitors coming to the city centre if parking charges were reduced to a more reasonable level in normal times.

Judy Ward