by Jon Hubbard on 30 November, 2010
Last night at the Policy and Resources Committee meeting of Melksham Town Council we reluctantly voted to cease negotiations with Wiltshire Council over the future of free parking in Melksham’s car parks.
Wiltshire Council is changing its pricing policy to have a common charge across the entire county for parking, with towns forced into four bands. This means that you will pay the same in Melksham as you will in Warminster, Westbury, Calne, Amesbury etc. It also means that the existing arrangement of one hours free parking being offered in Church Street Car Park will go.
The town was offered the opportunity to “buy” spaces in some of our car parks where one hours free parking would be offered. These would cost £500 per year each. This cost would have to be passed back to local residents via the Town Council’s precept (the extra charged on your council tax for Melksham Town Council) and would have required an increase of 1% for every 6 spaces. Quite rightly the council felt this did not offer good value for money.
Additionally, the Town Council could only have reserved a maximum of 25% of the spaces in any car park for the 1 hours free parking. This would have resulted in queues as people waited for the designated “free” spaces whilst ignoring empty chargeable spaces.
I find it ironic that the Conservative Administration at County Hall are willing to spend millions of public money on “invest to save” schemes, including refurbishing County Hall and providing a state-of-the-art town centre library for Trowbridge, whilst squeezing every last penny out of our market towns, such as Melksham, to pay for it. Where is the investment in our communities?
People will stop using local shops and town centres if it is cheaper and easier to shop elsewhere. This is another example of short term thinking from a tired administration that is running out of ideas. Let’s invest in our towns and make them vibrant and popular communities.1 Comment