This week, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson made a call to reduce car parking charges in the Cotswolds.
He asked the following question to Conservative Council Leader Lynden Stowe at this week’s Cotswold District Council meeting:
‘Will the Cabinet commit to consider reducing car parking fees in Cotswold District Council-owned car parks at the earliest possible opportunity and certainly before Gloucestershire County Council on-street car parking proposals are developed any further?’
Response from Councillor Stowe:
‘The Council’s policy is to freeze the charges it levies for car parking in CDC-owned car parks throughout the District for a three-year period, and has set out its proposals to fund this measure within its Medium Term Financial Strategy. I see no reason to change this policy at this time.’
Cllr Hodgkinson then asked a follow up question:
‘Councils across the country and some not far from here, such as Worcester, Wiltshire and Stroud are reducing their car parking charges and providing extra parking in an explicit attempt to support economic recovery in their towns and villages by encouraging visitors.
Currently, commuters are clogging up the streets of Cirencester, making it hard for residents to park, whilst the car parks lie empty – they’re only 30% full in the most recent survey.
Gloucestershire County Council recently consulted on proposals to reduce on-street parking for non-residents and to charge for on-street parking through blanket permits and pay and display charges. The whole strategy rests on encouraging more use of CDC car parks. Everyone, apart from you Cllr Stowe, is agreed that we need to lower prices in our car parks, provide a low cost commuter car park tariff to meet the needs of the low paid working in town centre businesses, allocate some car spaces to residents, boost the economy and in the process improve parking revenues. Do you recognise this picture in any way? Is it not too late to show some common sense, before Cirencester’s decline becomes irreversible. As part of a wider review of parking charges will the Leader commit to remove the Brewery 24/7 so-called pilot charges which have proved counter productive to all concerned?’
In response, Cllr Stowe claimed that other areas were ‘probably in a worse economic state than our area’ and that there was no justification for reducing parking charges.
For more information, see this article from the Gloucestershire Echo: