Salisbury Parking Charges - Update

July 28, 2011 12:31 PM

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Show Some Sense campaign in Salisbury. I will now bring you up-to-date with the latest developments. I must warn you that you should only read this if you are feeling calm, and please ensure you don't have anything to hand that you can throw. I cannot be held responsible for any damage you do to your property!

The good news (if you can call it that) is Wiltshire Council has recognised the changes it made to parking charges in Salisbury has been a mistake. However, what follows is a tale of incompetence and bureaucracy that has surprised even me.

The Leader of Wiltshire Council, Cllr Jane Scott, has said the decision to introduce a minimum two hour stay will be scrapped and the one hour charge will be reintroduced, but this will take up to 20 weeks or more to happen. The usual legal reasons have been cited, and council representatives will meet with business groups, the city council and the Salisbury Journal, who have been running the campaign against the increases. Here we are in July, a time when businesses should be getting plenty of customers through their doors, and the council (which freely admits it has made a massive error) cannot reverse its decision until the middle of December at the earliest! Traders are also campaigning for the increased charges to be reversed, but the council is unable to review this until next Spring. How many businesses does it want to go bankrupt in the meantime? We all know the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, but this isn't rocket science. I hate to think how long it takes to make really difficult decisions.



This is only part of the story though. You will not be surprised to hear that Wiltshire Council's takings are substantially down.  Cllr Scott, who must be in line for the 'most incompetent council leader of the year' award, has now asked shop owners if they want to participate in a redemption scheme. This would allow traders to offer money back discounts to customers on production of a parking ticket. Unsurprisingly this has not gone down very well, and Cllr Scott said, “I’m getting the impression that perhaps it’s not wanted, and if so, that’s fine, it was purely an offer to try to help people through a difficult time.”

Does she seriously expects traders, who are already struggling as the result of her decisions, to welcome with open arms a scheme that's going to cost them, in the vain hope it will attract more customers? All they want are the original decisions overturned. Life was hard enough for them already without the council making them ten times worse. They already pay high businesses rates, and they want the council to work with them, not against them.

If Wiltshire Council (under the current leadership) was a private business it would have already filed for bankruptcy. If you make mistakes, you rectify them, move on, and hopefully learn from them. Wiltshire Council has caused this mess, and its attempts to rectify the situation are pathetic. If it had said it was going to reverse its decisions, and then review them in the Spring, everyone would have been happy. Instead, it has managed to anger people in Salisbury even more. How often are we told councils pay high salaries because they want to attract and retain the best people? If this is the best they can do, I would hate to see their worst!A few weeks ago I wrote about the Show Some Sense campaign in Salisbury. I will now bring you up-to-date with the latest developments. I must warn you that you should only read this if you are feeling calm, and please ensure you don't have anything to hand that you can throw. I cannot be held responsible for any damage you do to your property!

The good news (if you can call it that) is Wiltshire Council has recognised the changes it made to parking charges in Salisbury has been a mistake. However, what follows is a tale of incompetence and bureaucracy that has surprised even me.

The Leader of Wiltshire Council, Cllr Jane Scott, has said the decision to introduce a minimum two hour stay will be scrapped and the one hour charge will be reintroduced, but this will take up to 20 weeks or more to happen. The usual legal reasons have been cited, and council representatives will meet with business groups, the city council and the Salisbury Journal, who have been running the campaign against the increases. Here we are in July, a time when businesses should be getting plenty of customers through their doors, and the council (which freely admits it has made a massive error) cannot reverse its decision until the middle of December at the earliest! Traders are also campaigning for the increased charges to be reversed, but the council is unable to review this until next Spring. How many businesses does it want to go bankrupt in the meantime? We all know the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, but this isn't rocket science. I hate to think how long it takes to make really difficult decisions.



This is only part of the story though. You will not be surprised to hear that Wiltshire Council's takings are substantially down.  Cllr Scott, who must be in line for the 'most incompetent council leader of the year' award, has now asked shop owners if they want to participate in a redemption scheme. This would allow traders to offer money back discounts to customers on production of a parking ticket. Unsurprisingly this has not gone down very well, and Cllr Scott said, “I’m getting the impression that perhaps it’s not wanted, and if so, that’s fine, it was purely an offer to try to help people through a difficult time.”

Does she seriously expects traders, who are already struggling as the result of her decisions, to welcome with open arms a scheme that's going to cost them, in the vain hope it will attract more customers? All they want are the original decisions overturned. Life was hard enough for them already without the council making them ten times worse. They already pay high businesses rates, and they want the council to work with them, not against them.

If Wiltshire Council (under the current leadership) was a private business it would have already filed for bankruptcy. If you make mistakes, you rectify them, move on, and hopefully learn from them. Wiltshire Council has caused this mess, and its attempts to rectify the situation are pathetic. If it had said it was going to reverse its decisions, and then review them in the Spring, everyone would have been happy. Instead, it has managed to anger people in Salisbury even more. How often are we told councils pay high salaries because they want to attract and retain the best people? If this is the best they can do, I would hate to see their worst!

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