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You can have say over parking fees
12:00pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
THE councillor who has taken the reins of Wiltshire Council’s highways department is seeking the public’s views on parking fees and ways to improve roads.
Coun John Thomson, who became cabinet member for highways and streetscene after the local elections in April, said completing the review was his main aim in 2014 – with people having a say.
He said his focus for the remainder of 2013 was overseeing the council’s new £25m-a-year highways contract with Balfour Beatty Living Places, which launched in June.
He acknowledged there had been teething problems with the contract but insists things are now back on track.
He said: “I think they underestimated some of the equipment requirements in the early stages, but now they have got the more heavy-duty gear which is much better.”
On the subject of car parking, Coun Thomson said: “I don’t think we have got the price banding completely right and maybe we should look at introducing different banding for different places.”
In 2011/12, Wiltshire Council made £4.9m in profit from car parks, the 23rd highest figure for a local authority out of the country’s 359.
Coun Thomson said this revenue is used to fund the council’s £19.5m rural transport budget, which includes bus links across Wiltshire.
He said: “A lot of people do not fully understand the costs involved in car parking and what they go towards.
“I’m going to ask my officers to publish their structures so we can have a proper, accurate debate.”
The council is also seeking to improve the region’s road surfaces with Coun Thomson blaming the poor state of some on a budget reduction during the late 1990s that saw investment fall.
Coun Thomson said: “There was a massive period of underinvestment which equated to £52m over a number of years. Now our budget is £27m a year, but we are playing catch-up.”