THE leader of the opposition on Cotswold District Council is campaigning for a controversial charge in a Cirencester car park to be abolished on the two year anniversary of its introduction.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has blasted CDC for continuing to charge motorists wishing to use the Brewery Car Park in Cirencester town centre for over two years.

It currently costs £1.50 to use the car park at any time on a Sunday.

Cllr Hodgkinson said: “Residents regularly complain to me about the size of the charge regardless of how long someone parks on a Sunday.

“For the amount of extra cash it brings in, it is a ludicrous scheme and penalises those who want to come into town on a Sunday.

“It has been a very short sighted tax on the town and it should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity. The council has the money to do so.”

Sunday and evening car parking charges were brought into force in the Brewery Car Park on New Year’s Day 2012 and have been a source of contention between political parties ever since.

The Cotswold Lib Dems staged a protest shortly after the charges were introduced in 2012 which was followed by Cllr Hodgkinson compiling a petition calling for them to be eradicated in 2013.

A spokesman for CDC defended the charges, saying that other authorities throughout the county charge for parking on a Sunday.

He said: “When we introduced Sunday parking charges at the Brewery two years ago, we recognised that times had changed as the public are now able to access a wide range of shops and events on what was once regarded as a day of rest.

“Being the most central car park, we felt that charging £1.50 to park at the Brewery on Sundays was not excessive.

“Additionally, we made some significant reductions to tariffs last year which have benefited motorists using our car parks.

"Most notably, we introduced an all-day £2 charge at the Cirencester Beeches car park and extended a 50p short stay charge to all CDC car parks.”