CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan has intervened in the row about the potential loss of free parking in Trowbridge if a £23 million bid for government funds succeeds.

The Trowbridge multi-storey car park could be swept away as part of a proposed redevelopment of the Castle Place shopping centre.

The scheme forms part of a bid for cash from the Government's Future High Streets Fund to transform Trowbridge town centre.

Urging extreme caution, the MP said: “I have seen recent news coverage of a proposed development for the free multi-storey car park in the centre of Trowbridge.

“The development falls outside of my constituency but I am aware that the loss of this asset will affect my constituents in the villages in Hilperton, Staverton and Semington who are close proximity to Trowbridge and often chose to shop there.

“Many town centres and high streets have been severely adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic; free parking is a huge incentive for shoppers to frequent town centres and I have spoken on this before for Chippenham town centre.

“I would urge extreme caution when considering whether or not to permanently remove this facility from Trowbridge and the residents of the town and surrounding villages.

“I shall liaise with Cllr Piazza and local MP Dr Andrew Murrison on the progress of this application.”

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 people have signed a Trowbridge councillor’s petition to save the town’s multi-storey car park and free parking.

Cllr Antonio Piazza, the Tory group leader on the council, launched the petition after details of Wiltshire Council’s £23 million Future High Streets Fund bid were released.

Submitted by Wiltshire Council at the end of July, the bid shows the possible redevelopment of the Castle Place shopping centre but no multi-storey car park.

Cllr Piazza wants to keep the Castle Place multi-storey and free parking, describing it as ‘the lifeblood of Trowbridge’s economy’.

He said: “I’m really pleased that my petition to save our multi-storey has rallied 1,200 signatures.

It just proves how valued it is by the people that live here.

“Cllr Graham Payne said that the multi-storey was the lifeblood of Trowbridge’s commercial hub.

“If this asset is taken away then it will be detrimental to the interests of everyone in Trowbridge and surrounding areas.

“I’ve listened to arguments that the building is ugly and smelly, but there’s little reason as to why we cannot invest more into cleaning it up or even improving the building.

“The lockdown earlier this year brought a lot of local business to a grinding halt on the high street.

“A focused, long-term effort is needed so that they can recover and thrive.

“The situation is also moving faster than we can react. A local business could be forced to close tomorrow if individuals test positive.

“Removing this valuable asset to the town would pile on the pressure that local businesses are already facing.

“It’s completely unfair on those employers, employees and customers who shop here. They already have enough to think about.”

To sign the petition, go to