Following pressure from residents and businesses, Wiltshire council has reversed its decision to charge for parking on Sundays.
In February, the council announced its intention to charge shoppers for parking on Sundays from November. The news came at the same time as a 12% hike in parking charges, and was met with dismay by traders.
This resulted in a petition by Wiltshire’s local democrats which garnered over 5000 signatures.
A government grant of £8 million, however, facilitated the change of plans. The grant will pay for a 12-month programme to deliver improvements to local highway maintenance.
According to cabinet member for highways, Bridget Wayman, they had listened to local communities, and have decided to use both the funding from the central government and council funding to support the local communities and towns. She further mentioned that based on feedback from the community, they have increased investment in Wiltshire’s roads, and this programme will make visible improvements.
Pauline Church, the cabinet member for economic development, also mentioned that the programme reaffirms their commitment to supporting the high streets, and local businesses. According to her, the highway improvements combined with the suspension of parking charges on Sundays, are intended to send the message that they’re committed to supporting the local economy.
Councillor Ian Thorn, the leader of the opposition and Lib Dem leader on Wiltshire Council, expressed his delight at the suspension of the Sunday parking charges, further stating that they would have hit the town centre residents, businesses, churches, and the work of all the citizens who want to keep the high streets alive.