Wiltshire Publications

Free parking promise from to Westbury from Lib Dems

THE leader of Wiltshire’s Liberal Democrats says that freeparking could return to Westbury under the party. 

Car parking charges were introduced by the Conservative administration in 2011. However, cllr Jon Hubbard says that he wants to see free parking re-introduced within 12 months if the Liberal Democrats are voted into office on the 2nd May.

Cllr Jon Hubbard, leader of Wiltshire’s Liberal Democrats said, “The shops and high streets of Wiltshire are the lifeblood of our community, they must be protected. Free parking, if even just for 30 minutes, will bring people into the local shops.

“If the Liberal Democrats are voted in to office at the local elections in May, then we will reintroduce free car parking within the first 12 months of being elected.”

Cllr Hubbard says that recent figures show an overspend of £180,000 on car parking services in the county. However, he says that a free parking scheme in the Christmas period, where a coupon from the council allowed shoppers to pay for one hour and get another free, made £58,000.

Cllr Hubbard said, “All we have to do is look at the figures. There is a definite need for free parking and it creates cash for the council.

“Wiltshire Council has now overspent by £180,000 on car parking services. They claim that this is an improvement on their predicted overspend, but that is because they made £58,000 thanks to increased usage of the car parks throughout December.

“Wiltshire Council cannot even claim that the increased usage was due to Christmas shoppers. They had already predicted and taken into account the increased usage of car parks over Christmas. This £58,000 has smashed expectations because of the free parking initiative.

“Let’s be clear. Wiltshire Council still overspent by £180,000, if it was not for the free parking scheme, this would have been £58,000 more.”

Wiltshire Council scrapped one hour free car parking in 2011, a decision which angered local traders, shoppers, and councillors.

Council says money was not made by free parking initiative

Wiltshire Council’s representative for car parking, cllr Dick Tonge, claims that the free parking scheme was not the reason for the car parks becoming more popular over Christmas.

He said, “The increase in car parking income before Christmas was due to the very successful Christmas Market in Salisbury, which was supported by Wiltshire Council.

“When the market was open, the Park and Ride sites were full and more people parked in the city centre than in previous months. It was a great venture which all the visitors enjoyed, and we are pleased it went so well. The additional hour free promotion we ran in the week before Christmas in all our car parks, not the month before Christmas as shown on cllr Hubbard’s website, was popular, and we hope to be able to continue this next Christmas.”