THE cost of parking has left a woman feeling furious after she decided to downsize and move across to the other side of Royal Wootton Bassett.

Jon and Julia Douglas, of Victory Row, are having to pay £58 a month per car for a season ticket after permits in the area were phased out.

Julia told the Adver: "It's so expensive, I've done some research and it's more expensive than Cirencester, Bath, Oxford, and Kensington. It's absolutely extraordinary and I don't know how they can justify this. We're having to get rid of one of our two cars, because of the cost and council tax.

"I don't know how some residents will be able to afford it as the price will continue to be raised, it's madness."

Julia has contacted several councillors and MPs in Wiltshire about this issue. It was explained to her in an email from councillor Bridget Wayman, of highways, transport, and waste, that there's a plan to gradually increase the off-street scheme charges to the same level as the season ticket rates until November 2022. New applications for off-street permits have not been allowed for the past four years.

Adrian Hampton, head of highway operations at Wiltshire Council, said: “The residents’ off-street scheme in Royal Wootton Bassett is a historic arrangement that was put in place by the former district councils in Wiltshire. In 2010, it was decided by the cabinet that these schemes should be phased out and that both residents and season ticket holders alike should pay the same rate to park in our car parks.

“The majority of our car park season ticket holders are also residents of Wiltshire, and subsidising one user over another isn’t fair, which is why residents’ off-street permits will increase in price until November 2022 to bring them into line with the cost of a season ticket."

The mayor of the town, Nic Hughes, said: "Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council has sought proactive discussions under the devolution of services to acquire Wiltshire Council-owned car parks in our town. This would enable us to offer competitive priced car parking for both residents and visitors to the Town. This action would also seek to support High Street shops and businesses as they compete with retail areas with free parking."

Councillor Chris Hurst of Royal Wootton Bassett South believes the cost of the season tickets is unacceptable.

He said: "A few years ago, local residents were presented with this outrageous price-hike by Wiltshire Council and the introduction of season tickets.

"The residents assembled a petition against the policy and presented the petition to Wiltshire Council’s Conservative cabinet member for Highways who promptly ignored the residents' justified concerns.

"I described the Council’s policy as a stain on the reputation of the Council and I maintain that view.

"Using season tickets and parking permits as stealth taxes is completely unacceptable. The local Liberal Democrat’s in Royal Wootton Bassett are against these extreme prices and will continue to work to ensure that Wiltshire Council looks again at the damaging legacy of the policy."