TOWN centres will be ‘ruined’ by the latest proposals to impose even more parking charges across the county, say locals and business owners.

Town councillors have also slammed Wiltshire Council’s plans to nearly double season ticket prices and to introduce parking charges on Sundays and bank holidays across the county feeling Trowbridge has been particularly hard hit.

Year-long season tickets at Lovemead, Court Street, Broad Street, Broad Street Crescent and Bradford Road car parks could all rise by around £200-£600, along with hefty increases for six-month, three-month and one-month tickets.

At Tuesday’s town council policy and resources meeting, Cllr Geoff Whiffen said: “This is going to ruin the town centre. They kept this very quiet. County Hall does not know what it is doing. They are not transparent. It is ridiculous. Look what free parking is doing for Salisbury trade.”

Cllr Edward Kirk said: “We are being misled. They do this but don’t talk about the 571 spaces at its own car parks. That, to me, is discriminatory. Added costs mean added inconveniences. Wiltshire Council should support traders, not put barriers up for them.”

Despite the authority announcing that parking charges will be introduced at Southwick Country Park, the Friends confirmed on its website that it will stay free while they maintain the car park’s surface, using tools and materials provided by Wiltshire’s Countryside Team, to an agreed standard.

Trowbridge chamber chairman, Tracy Parker, said: “This is just hurting the town. This hits workers’ pockets again which is a bit of a poor show. Councillors get free parking but not the rest.”

Owner of the Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon, James Sullivan-Tailyour, said: "BOA Business represents a community of more than 490 businesses based in and around Bradford on Avon and among its’ aims is to support businesses and to maintain and grow a vibrant and successful business community in the area.

“While of course the businesses in Bradford on Avon are concerned that any increases in parking charges may affect their business, they recognise that there is a great additional, yet little known, parking resource in the town in the form of the Canal Trust car park.

“This has over 100 spaces, is located next to the Canal and eight minutes walk from the town centre. It offers a very viable and in fact cheaper alternative to the five car parks run by Wiltshire Council.”

The BOA Business community recognises that, due to the popularity of the town as a place to visit, there is a need for the provision of further parking and BOA Business is keen to work with both Wiltshire Council, Bradford on Avon Town Council and any other stakeholders in finding ways of further increasing the availability of parking for visitors to the town.”

Cllr Graham Payne added: “We might request for a community asset transfer of some of the car parks. We would handle it in a much more commercially sensible way than Wiltshire Council.

“This will lead more people to park on single yellow lines on weekends as you can do that. Wiltshire Council consultations are becoming a bit of a sham."

Trowbridge resident, Bob Hartman, said: “This makes no business sense at all. This drives people away.”

Local Chris Maidment said: “All parking charges in Trowbridge should go back into the town and stay free on Sundays. Wiltshire Council wants Trowbridge to die and be a ghost town.”

Karen Knowles said: “(This is a) Ridiculous idea, when there is barely anything worth going into Trowbridge for, will make matters worse not better for shops.”

A spokesman said the council had consulted on charges widely last autumn and added: “The consultation feedback was considered as part of the cabinet decision in January to go ahead with the proposed changes and we are now publicising the Traffic Regulation Orders so people can see the changes and make any further comments before the closing date of May 21.”

to comment go to