Cotswold District Council opt out of free parking initiative as part of Small Business Saturday
CIRENCESTER shoppers will be feeling left out following Cotswold District Council’s decision to opt out of an initiative that would see parking charges suspended on one of the busiest Saturday s before Christmas.
This weekend, as part of Small Business Saturday, councils up and down the country will waive their parking fees in a bid to encourage shoppers back on to their local high streets.
However, CDC has said that the loss of one day’s parking revenue would be detrimental to the people of the Cotswolds.
A spokesman for CDC said: “Whilst providing free parking on Saturday would undoubtedly be popular with motorists, we do have to consider the effect that a reduction in parking surpluses would have on the contribution that parking income makes to every resident in the Cotswolds.
“Any surplus is spent in full each year on contributing to essential services such as public toilet provision and environmental protection.”
Earlier this month CDC declined to review its parking tariff in light of a £1.4million profit generated solely from parking charges.
In contrast, Small Business Saturday has been welcomed by Gloucestershire County Council which has promised to scrap on-street parking fees across the county for one day.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of GCC, said: “In this day and age where you can buy everything you need online, our local businesses need our support to thrive.
“We’re fortunate in Gloucestershire to have such a fantastic range of small businesses and playing a part in the Small Business Saturday campaign is our way of showing just how important they really are.”
CDC’s lack of involvement with Small Business Saturday has prompted criticism from the council’s opposition.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats on CDC, said: “I’m passionate about putting local residents first and supporting local businesses. I believe GCC’s attitude is much fairer and more effective compared with treating residents as cash cows in the way the Conservatives at CDC have continued to.
“How sad that CDC’s ruling administration won’t support small businesses yet persist with high parking charges.”
Small Business Saturday, which aims to encourage people to support their local businesses, takes place nationwide on Saturday, December 7.
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