Council’s aid plea for Chippenham parking is snubbed

Chippenham Town Council says it is disappointed after Wiltshire Council rejected its proposals for concessionary car parking.

The town council put forward two ideas to help shoppers and traders.

One was for free parking in all public car parks in Chippenham after 3pm one day a week in the run- up to Christmas.

The other idea was for a permanent scheme to benefit the greatest number of users of car parks based on market research.

Officials from the town council met with counterparts at Wiltshire Council last month to discuss the ideas but they failed to gain support.

The town council suggested the schemes to increase the number of people visiting Chippenham. Wiltshire Council increased parking charges at different rates in towns across the county a few years ago, resulting in the one-hour charge in Chippenham going up from 50p to £1.10, although it did reduce it to £1 following lobbying from traders and others.

A report by Chris Williams, head of support services at the town council to the council’s strategy and resources committee, said Wiltshire Council’s policy was to freeze all charges until at least March 2014.

He said Wiltshire Council said that footfall in town centres was declining before parking charges were increased.

Councillor Andrew Noblet, leader of the town council, said: “We are very disappointed and frustrated by Wiltshire Council’s response.

“There is a great deal of concern in the town about parking charges.

“The feeling is the hike was too great and that has put people off from visiting.

“The town is not dying on its feet but it would be more vibrant if parking charges were cheaper.”

Ben Gregory, co-chairman of Cherish Chippenham and a trader in New Road, said: “Wiltshire Council seems to have one rule for one town and one rule for another. Parking charges in Trowbridge are cheaper than Chippenham and Salisbury has a concessionary scheme.”

Wiltshire Council is planning to offer two days of free car parking per town a year.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “All towns in Wiltshire have two free days parking available to use whenever they wish throughout the year, and every resident can take advantage of the buy one hour, get one free offer in the week before Christmas.

“The voucher, which can be used multiple times, is in the latest copy of Your Wiltshire or it can be downloaded at www.wiltshire.gov.uk.

In Chippenham, a free day of parking has been given to help with the Victorian market.”

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