ONE must wonder whether all the promises for council tax can come from the modest rise proposed or are there other resources to be plundered?

With but a short time to the inevitable demise of district control, is every resource to be squeezed dry before hand over to the unitary power?

With parking charges climbing, unfettered by higher authority, perhaps that is the treasure chest to be raided.

If so, it is the driver who uses, perhaps has to use, Salisbury parking who will foot the bill for the whole of the district as usual.

All other council car parks are free.

Yes, a much higher proportion of visitors will be caught that way but why not everyone in the district?

The most irksome charge is for Sundays.

Introduced with wide but flawed publicity and "consultation" to help meet a very specific expected three year deficit and voted upon in council as a separated issue of its own, it was aimed at producing £210,000 between 2006 and 2009. That was a particular mandate approved by full council.

Again, the people who help pay off this district debt is far from everyone.

It was badly introduced initially and brought a higher proportion of penalty charges.

But it was mouth-wateringly successful; the total target income of £210k was reached last September.

That was in just 13 months instead of the intended 36, almost three times too much.

When I pointed out that it would be morally wrong to continue the charge without full council approval, it was dismissed.

I suggested that it should be re-authorised and in the process modified to include all car parks at a reduced price but the answer was to double the charge to £2, a charge few city dwellers, among others, will need to pay.

  • I READ with dismay in the Salisbury Journal that "Motorists will have to dig deeper" as from the beginning of April.

It is disgusting that Sunday parking should rise by 100 per cent from £1 to £2.

Spare a thought for those of us who attend the city's churches and for the poor pensioner who already finds it difficult to meet parking charges, they can't "dig deeper".

This rise is above inflation - how can the council justify such an increase?

Don't say we can use park and ride. When you live within the city ring road this is impossible, yet some of us still need transport into the city.

This council is nothing but money grabbing.

There is no bus service for some of us - so if we are unable to walk ably, a car is the option.

These increased charges overall will not encourage visitors to Salisbury and we will become a dead city. Think again. People will go where there is no Sunday charges.

City churches are going to suffer a slump in attendance under these new charges - do we want empty churches to add to already empty buildings?

  • I WAS staggered by the articles regarding city parking charges and council garage rent increases in last week's Journal.

Hikes in charges of the magnitude proposed by the cabinet only show the inability of the Liberal/Labour council to pay its way through the council tax.

They have resorted to the use of stealth taxes, so loved by Labour, to hide the real cost of what they are doing.

And some hike it is too.

Long-term parking rises by ten per cent, still way above inflation, and the rest of the parking charges are sheer robbery.

On-street parking for 15 minutes rises by 150 per cent, for 30 minutes it rises by 100 per cent, for 45 minutes it rises by 50 per cent, and for one hour it rises by 33 per cent.

Sunday parking rises by 100 per cent.

Park and ride rises by 25 per cent, and council garage rents rise by 91 per cent.

Hardly surprising though, when one looks at how this administration is wasting our money.

Councillors Sample and Fear are hoping to raise sufficient cash from motorists and council tenants to subsidise plans they cannot fund, such as the arts budget, the all new Market Square, the Salisbury Vision, rubbish collection, the bargain basement £3.3m secret garden, the list goes on.

So much for a balanced budget.

This short-sighted approach will drive visitors and locals away from Salisbury town centre.

How the Labour group can be party to such a drain on local businesses and council tenants in this way is shameful.
DW BROWN, Salisbury

  • AT the environment and transport scrutiny panel I gave our ruling cabinet a series of suggestions with regard to parking charges.

I am extremely disappointed to see that virtually none of these have been adopted.

The most disappointing is their refusal to remove the £1 parking charge for using council car parks in Salisbury on Sundays.

The panel recommended that this charge be removed in the face of evidence from our city shops that the charge had reduced Sunday trade since its introduction.

Instead of removing it, Cllr Sample's Cabinet has increased the charge to £2.

All this will do is further damage the long term viability of our city centre, something we cannot afford to do.
RICHARD CLEWER, Councillor for Alderbury and Whiteparish