FREE parking protected by a 40 year old covenant could be lost after it was agreed that a multi story car park could be sold off in Trowbridge.

A legal deed drawn up in 1972 by West Wiltshire District Council for Castle Place car park stated that the multi storey would remain free for use by residents in Trowbridge.

However now Wiltshire Council has agreed that the building, which has been called an "eyesore" could be sold to current owners of Castle Place shopping centre to run. New owners would be able to choose whether to end free parking and introduce charges.

Drivers say they would rather park out of town and walk in than start to pay for parking.

Cabinet member for spatial planning, development management and property at Wiltshire Council, Toby Sturgis said: “Any changes to charges will be comparable to overall charges currently in Trowbridge. This charge will not exceed what is currently charged by Wiltshire Council in car parks.”

Trowbridge cllr Edward Kirk said: “I don’t think it is going to be of financial benefit and we will lose a service that low-paid workers use and provide the opportunity for them to work in the town.”

Cllr Graham Payne added: “It is a great benefit for the shoppers and workers. If the car park is just passed over there will be a huge backlash over the removal of this asset for our town centre.

“There is a feeling that Wiltshire Council is hollowing out Trowbridge which is the county town. We are extremely protective of this asset for the people of Trowbridge and the covenant in place.” Council leader Jane Scott said: “1972 was a long time ago in terms of local authorities and maintenance costs have changed greatly.”