DRIVERS will lose free parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays and season ticket holders will see a hike in costs after Wiltshire Council approved changes to public parking charges.

Charges have not changed since 2011 but were increased by up to 12 per cent across the county on Tuesday.

Body video cameras will also be introduced to “protect civil enforcement officers” and more mobile parking and automatic number plate recognition cameras will be used across the county.

Following a parking consultation to which just 1,400 residents responded, charges will be introduced in the majority of free car parks from August.

Town councils will no longer get a free event parking allowance in November and December, as the allowance will only be available from January-October. Some councils had expressed fears the move could hit Christmas celebrations, such as using parking spaces for public Christmas trees.

However, a proposed reduction in the grace period from 15 to 10 minutes after parking ends will not be put into place.

Cllr Ian Thorn said: “Looking at the three key factors of the car parking strategy of regeneration, restraint and revenue, I think they are conflicting in many ways.

“This is a victory for restraint rather than regeneration.”

In 2016/17 income from car parking charges was £3.695m and public transport expenditure £7.838m, leaving a £4.143m excess paid for by Wiltshire Council.

An estimated £1.381m will be generated by the new charges, which will be invested into the public transport budget, in order to lower council expenditure.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “If we are to continue providing public transport services we need additional income from parking.

“Parking charges have not been increased through an inflation uplift since 2011 and the cost of operating car parks and public transport is continuing to rise.”

Cllr Matthew Dean, chairman of the environment select committee, said: “There was cross-party support and recognition of the need to increase parking charges.

“They make an important contribution to the revenue of the council. The consultation response rate was significantly lower than similar past consultations and the council might consider how to communicate more effectively.”