A WORKING party representing traders and town councillors is to be set up to come up with a united plan for Devizes Market Place.

Last month Wiltshire Council's finance boss Philip Whitehead told the town council that charges would be introduced for parking in the historic Market Place but unexpectedly also offered the chance for the square to become car free.

Town councillors and members of the public were worried about the impact the changes will have on the economy of the town.

A report to last week's town planning meeting said: "Disappointment was expressed about the lack of any analysis of potential business impact arising from the various policy changes.

"It was felt there is an absence of any constructive discussion on changes to the landscape at the heart of the town’s conservation area, which is the public open space and where many of the town’s cultural and social activities take place."

Now the Devizes Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses are to join town councillors on a working party so a united front can be presented when they meet again with Cllr Whitehead later in the year.

At the previous meeting he said that the extra revenue gained by introducing parking charges of 70p for an hour and £1.30 for two hours in the Market Place were essential to Wiltshire Council.

But he later said that he believed that if the Market Place was not used for parking the council would still gain the same amount of money as people would use other car parks.

But traders in the town fear both proposals could have a serious effect on trade. Many believe the ability for shoppers to park free for 30 minutes is good for business and would not want to see it become a plaza for sitting out or stalls. They also think more paid-for parking would be bad for business.