Cirencester residents rejoice as Gloucestershire County Council walk away from on-street parking plans
CIRENCESTER residents have said they are delighted to hear that the county council has finally listened to them and abandoned all plans for on-street parking in the town.
The Cirencester Parking Partnership (CPP), led by Gloucestershire County Council - and made up of representatives from the county, district and town councils and the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce - put forward plans to replace Castle Street’s single yellow line with a pay and display parking bay.
A consultation began but it was soon clear that the plans were faced with an overwhelming opposition and many residents said they were just not being listened to by the council.
Earlier this week, an announcement was made to say that GCC had dropped the idea completely after learning that 95 per cent of the hundreds of people who responded to the consultation were against on-street parking in the town.
Mayor of Cirencester Joe Harris has been involved in the plans for more than a year.
He said he is happy the idea of on-street parking has been dropped by GCC but disappointed that a solution to Cirencester’s parking problem has still not been found.
“People are not using car parks here,” said Cllr Harris. “Cars just park on the street. We need to look at this. GCC needed to be standing up for people and talking to them. Unfortunately people were just not listened to.”
GCC set up a consultation to try and discuss the matter with residents, but many said they felt like their ideas were being ignored. The council had hoped that the parking meters on streets would make parking more convenient.
Chairman of the Cirencester Residents' Parking Group Sally Hilliker said she was delighted that GCC had walked away from the plans.
“We are pleased that they are not going to put street meters out but not too happy that they did not take a blind bit of notice of the street survey we carried out,” she said.
Sally and other members of the parking group surveyed all those living on roads where they had to pay for parking already. She said GCC “ignored” the information they collated.
GCC commissioning director for communities and infrastructure Nigel Riglar said he was disappointed that the council could not help with parking issues in Cirencester.
“The local community and some of their representatives made it clear through the recent public consultation that they do not want the changes suggested,” he said.
“The county council has a duty to taxpayers to make the best use of its resources, so we have withdrawn from the partnership until there is consensus amongst all those involved.”
Cllr Harris went on to say that at the end of the day, it was all about parking charges in Cirencester.
“The partnership research showed that there are empty spaces in the town’s car parks,” he said. "We have to encourage people into the town centre."
Cotswold District Council came under fire earlier this year for making a £10 million profit on car parking charges since 2006. A spokesman for CDC said the council would continue to work with its partners to try and find a parking solution for Cirencester.
“The use of Cotswold District Council’s off-street car parks is under regular review and we will continue to monitor usage,” he said.
CDC cabinet member responsible for parking issues Cllr Chris Hancock said he hoped that there could be more discussion about parking for the benefit of those local to Cirencester as well as visitors.
He said: "I am happy to meet to see what prospects there are of any degree of consensus being generated between the interested parties."