Councillors are set to make a decision on the extension of a two-hour free parking policy for a Wiltshire town centre.

Residents and visitors to Calne have benefited from two hours of free parking in the Church Street car park since 2015.

The scheme was introduced to encourage increased footfall in the town’s heritage quarter and has since been renewed annually by the town council.

During this time the town has seen upwards of 4,000 free tickets issued in multiple months.

A report on the continuation of the scheme will be presented to councillors on February 26 and they will then decide if they wish to renew the scheme with Wiltshire Council.

Mark Edwards, the town council’s head of business, says the policy has encouraged some people to spend more time at local businesses.

He added: “Some people say the free parking scheme encourages them to come into the town and spend time shopping, which they might not do if it wasn’t there.

“It also encourages people travelling on the A4 to stop in the town… we see it as a good investment that encourages people to spend more time in Calne.”

A public consultation is being run ahead of councillors’ decision and residents can voice their opinions via the town council website.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Parking signs near Church Street in CalneParking signs near Church Street in Calne (Image: Google Maps)

Responses to the consultation have been overwhelmingly in favour of the continuation of free parking at the Church Street car park.

One resident said: “I think the free two-hour parking is great to have within the town.

“It is a good amount of time for people to visit the local shops and businesses, heritage centre, or even walk along the river or Castlefields.

“I think it would be good to continue to offer this within the town.”

Others warned that if free parking periods were scrapped, local businesses within the town could be damaged by a fall in visitors.

One commenter said: “In a town the size of Calne, free parking is essential.

“The danger is that people will take their business to a larger town or to Tesco where they can park for free.”

Another added: “Removing free parking would reduce people going into the shops and cause them to lose business.

“Calne businesses would suffer, we’re already seeing shops close.”

The cost of the scheme was £8,300 plus VAT at this time last year.

As well as responses to the parking consultation, the town council is also welcoming nominations for the Calne Civic Awards with several residents set to be recognised for their efforts.