COTSWOLD District Council should look at their neighbouring councils when it comes to setting its parking charges, according to the leader of the opposition.

Following the national news that local councils made a £594million profit from parking charges and that CDC reported a profit just shy of £1.5million, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for the Cotswolds, said: “This is clearly a big issue in other parts of the country too, but not every council sees the need to hammer residents with high charges.

“Look at West Oxfordshire, whom CDC shares a chief executive with, they have free parking and the result is a lot more footfall in their town centres. If they can do it in a similar sized rural area, why can’t we?”

Local councils up and down the country have made almost £30million more in parking charges, compared to this time last year.

Cllr Barry Gibbs, cabinet member responsible for parking issues, told the Standard: "I think the comparison between us and West Oxfordshire is rather misleading.

"If comparisons are going to be made then we should be compared to the other councils in Gloucestershire."

Cllr Gibbs also stressed that the parking charges in Cirencester are considerably lower than those in Cheltenham, a Lib Dem stronghold.

A spokesman for CDC said: “Like all Gloucestershire councils, we provide public parking as a discretionary chargeable service.

“Any surplus revenue generate is used to provide essential public services including, but not limited to, public toilet provision, environmental protection, tackling environmental crime such as fly-tipping, clearance of litter and land drainage.

“The surplus is used for the benefit of all taxpayers in the district. Provision of free parking would mean that some public services would need to be cut or cease altogether unless other funding streams could be identified.”

The figures, which were compiled by the RAC, were calculated by adding up income from parking charges and penalty notices and deducting running costs.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that the current state of parking in Britain is unjust and is looking at taking action to halt “town hall parking bullies”.