15-year-old Ben King from Cirencester Kingshill School pressures Cotswold District Council to lower parking charges
DESPITE not even being old enough to drive, one Cirencester schoolboy is putting pressure on Cotswold District Council to lower parking charges in the town.
Ben King, 15, who attends Cirencester Kingshill School, submitted a question to CDC at its council meeting on Tuesday asking if members thought a drop in parking charges would boost business and tourism in the town.
The Year 11 pupil told the Standard: “I know parking has been a big issue for a while. Whenever I go into town with my mum, I know that she’s always trying to find somewhere to park on the streets.
“I’ve done a couple of surveys on this in the town and most people seem to think that the prices are far too high.”
Ben’s question was given to CDC leader Lynden Stowe who responded to the question at the meeting.
He said: “The question is difficult to answer as the price of short stay parking is only one factor that could affect a tourist’s decision to visit Cirencester.
“However, the council does recognise the need to attract both visitors and support local businesses, and has reduced its long stay charges in the Beeches car park to £2 all day in April 2012.”
Cllr Stowe explained that ticket sales in the Beeches car park have increased by over 3,000 since the price drop.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat leader on CDC, said: “I really welcome the enthusiasm of Ben and his group in looking at this issue as it’s something people feel very strongly about.
“It’s great that students are getting involved in local affairs and they have some good ideas which we can all take on board.”
The meeting also heard that over the course of the last financial year, CDC accumulated a profit of £1.47 million from car parking charges.
In a direct response to this, Cllr Lee Searles proposed a motion calling for a full review of parking tariffs and parking structures.
He said: “The council’s current car parking pricing structure places our towns and villages at a strategic economic disadvantage compared to those in other districts – it cannot be seen any other way.”
The motion will be discussed at the next CDC cabinet meeting in November.
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