THE car park for tourists at Avoncliff may yet be saved, after local councillors handed it a £10,000 lifeline.

The lease on the hamlet’s 16-space car park, used by 19,000 people a year, will end on Wednesday (March 23) after Wiltshire Council decided not to spend £15,00 a year renewing it.

The plan now is for the car park’s owner and local people of the Avoncliff Community Group to share running the car park and now charge for parking – although it is not yet clear if the gates will be open by next weekend.

Avoncliff Community Group has received £5,000 each from Westwood Parish Council and Bradford on Avon area board towards the scheme.

Tony Stewart, chairman of the Avoncliff Community Group, said: “This is superb news and a crucial development for our community.

“We created a lot of noise and it has made an impact. We are extremely grateful for those who have made this possible but it is not even a third of what we need.

“It is a step in the right direction but the landlord, who is being incredibly generous, still needs to secure a joint funded solution to establish a privately owned and run car park.

“I am however still disappointed that Wiltshire Council did not budge or even get back to me.”

According to Bradford Cllr Magnus Macdonald, whose ward includes Avoncliff, the £10,000 will go towards constructing a wall on the car park’s western boundary, as well as barriers to replace the current fencing.

“After what was becoming a nightmare, we have some genuinely good news,” said Cllr Macdonald.

“The area board and the parish council, who have dug into a third of their reserves for this, have put in a large chunk of money and the end result is Avoncliff will have a car park which should be long lasting.

“A lot of work has gone into this, it has been a collaborative effort and we all put in a lot of work. Something very important and quite complex has been resolved.

“Austerity shows how communities have to do more work to keep things like this going. It is a sea change in attitude has occurred. No longer can we rely on other parties.”

Westwood Parish Council clerk Roger Coleman said: “We're very pleased that the community area board recognised the importance of retaining a car park at Avoncliff by awarding the Avoncliff Community Group a grant of £5,000 towards its retention.

“Westwood Parish Council also recognized the value of retaining the car park and it agreed unanimously at its meeting on March 7 to contribute £5,000.

“Further approaches are to be made by the Avoncliff Community Group to the local Avoncliff businesses, Network Rail and the Canal and River Trust to secure additional financial support.”