Free parking in the Cotswolds planned for next year

A pay and display machine in the Forum car park, Cirencester

A pay and display machine in the Forum car park, Cirencester

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FREE parking could finally come to the Cotswolds next year in a pilot scheme to be launched by the council.

Cotswold District Council cabinet member for parking Cllr Chris Hancock has made the decision to suspend all charges in council-owned car parks in the district on Mondays and Tuesday in January and February 2015.

The idea, brought forward last week, has been met with outstanding support from residents and business owners in the area, many of whom have been lobbying for cheaper parking charges for years.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” said Cirencester resident April Collins. “Anywhere parking is free is just a brilliant idea.”

Mayor of Cirencester Joe Harris has shown his support for the initiative. A week before the decision was made he launched his own social media campaign, calling for free parking in Cirencester town on weekday afternoons.

"This is a start. Ultimately what we want to see is a long term commitment to reformed parking," he said.

"We want to see fewer parking charges so more people use the town. This is good news."

CDC came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed that the council made a profit of £10million in car parking charges across the district since 2006.

Cllr Hancock said the free afternoon parking trial, set to start in January, is just the beginning and will hopefully lead on to more free parking across the Cotswolds in the future.

“Will it make a difference?” he said. “I hope it does. This has been planned for some time. The council set aside some money back in February to promote parking.

“This is an initiative to try and encourage people into the town.”

He went on to say Monday and Tuesday afternoons in the first two months of next year were chosen because they will be the quietest, and the times businesses will struggle the most.

Cricklade resident Clair Armstrong said the current parking charges in Cirencester put her off coming to shop in the town.

“It’s dearer here than in Swindon so I often go to Swindon instead of Cirencester,” she said. “I would definitely come here if there was free parking."

Another resident, Andrew Mitchell, said he had only just moved to the town from North Wales and was astounded by the parking charges.

"It's 50p for half an hour and then £1.30 for one hour. How do you work that out?" he said. "It was cheaper in North Wales."

After the trial takes place, councillors will be meeting to discuss the effectiveness of the scheme.

Cllr Hancock added: “It’s a question of whether the council put further funds aside.”

What do you think about the free afternoon parking trial? Leave your comments below or email mar@wiltsglosstandard.co.uk

Comments (12)

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7:17am Thu 4 Sep 14

Olly Cromwell says...

It's a temporary bribe by the ruling Tories in the run-up to May 2015 local elections

We need permanent policy change not token gestures & this will only be delivered with regime change
It's a temporary bribe by the ruling Tories in the run-up to May 2015 local elections We need permanent policy change not token gestures & this will only be delivered with regime change Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 6

7:29am Thu 4 Sep 14

Col Mustard says...

The moral bankruptcy of this Council is breathtaking ! Treating voters as idiots with such a transparent plan to save their Tory backsides at the May Elections ! Throw them all out and have a plan that works across the Cotswolds including the currently excluded North Cotswolds....
The moral bankruptcy of this Council is breathtaking ! Treating voters as idiots with such a transparent plan to save their Tory backsides at the May Elections ! Throw them all out and have a plan that works across the Cotswolds including the currently excluded North Cotswolds.... Col Mustard
  • Score: 10

11:35am Thu 4 Sep 14

pbaillie says...

It's pointless - what are they trying to achieve? People have a certain amount of money to spend in town. If they start going on quiet days to take advantage of free parking, maybe those days will be busier, but others are likely to be quieter, so no overall gain to retailers, and certainly a loss to CDC. Of course no-one likes paying for parking, but services cost money, and if it's not parking then it has to be Council Tax.
It's pointless - what are they trying to achieve? People have a certain amount of money to spend in town. If they start going on quiet days to take advantage of free parking, maybe those days will be busier, but others are likely to be quieter, so no overall gain to retailers, and certainly a loss to CDC. Of course no-one likes paying for parking, but services cost money, and if it's not parking then it has to be Council Tax. pbaillie
  • Score: -3

12:51pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Rex Cooper says...

They truly believe that the voters in Cirencester are idiots. "free" afternoon parking on Mondays in January in 2015. Insulting our intelligence. Where is the Standard reporters critical factors on this. The insult is the story not some random opinion from Cricklade
They truly believe that the voters in Cirencester are idiots. "free" afternoon parking on Mondays in January in 2015. Insulting our intelligence. Where is the Standard reporters critical factors on this. The insult is the story not some random opinion from Cricklade Rex Cooper
  • Score: 2

1:23pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Pentheus says...

https://www.facebook
.com/CotsConsNotGood
Enuf
https://www.facebook .com/CotsConsNotGood Enuf Pentheus
  • Score: 3

8:10pm Thu 4 Sep 14

mr fleas says...

Someone made £10million clear profit by dissuading drivers from parking in town? Steer clear of Ciren on Mondays and Tuesdays in January else you'll get knocked down in the rush! Lol.
Someone made £10million clear profit by dissuading drivers from parking in town? Steer clear of Ciren on Mondays and Tuesdays in January else you'll get knocked down in the rush! Lol. mr fleas
  • Score: 2

12:17pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Iansky says...

It beggars belief, on the quietest days of the week when people are at work they want to "trial" free parking yet on the essential shopping day (Sat) they still charge and knowing this bunch will probably increase the charges.

They must really live on another planet!

We will continue to go to Witney as it offers everything Cirencester could if managed correctly, free parking everywhere, cinema, good shops (large & small) great eating places with plenty of choice and a friendly atmosphere.

All the things Cirencester is not (and has become) they counter effectively - they even have a council run shop in town that does good business.

I would suggest our current bunch of cronies take a trip to Witney and see how it should be done rather than plunder Ciren, drive out small business and fill the town with empty shops / estate agents / phone shops / coffe shops and charity shops!
It beggars belief, on the quietest days of the week when people are at work they want to "trial" free parking yet on the essential shopping day (Sat) they still charge and knowing this bunch will probably increase the charges. They must really live on another planet! We will continue to go to Witney as it offers everything Cirencester could if managed correctly, free parking everywhere, cinema, good shops (large & small) great eating places with plenty of choice and a friendly atmosphere. All the things Cirencester is not (and has become) they counter effectively - they even have a council run shop in town that does good business. I would suggest our current bunch of cronies take a trip to Witney and see how it should be done rather than plunder Ciren, drive out small business and fill the town with empty shops / estate agents / phone shops / coffe shops and charity shops! Iansky
  • Score: 7

2:12pm Sat 6 Sep 14

GWS Observer says...

This could, as Olly says, be a cynical election ploy by the Conservatives or then again it could be an example of good house-keeping to keep car parking charges under review.
Equally, if car parking charges had not generated a surplus to help pay for other public services, would the Lib Dems have voted to increase council tax rather than accept the cuts that the Conservatives have delivered? After all, these services do have to be paid for, if they are to be continued rather than cut?
Meantime, the electorate can only hope that the same flexibility which is being shown by the Conservative-led district council to review car parking charges, will spill over into a more flexible approach to reconsider the Chesterton development with Lib Dem support.
This could, as Olly says, be a cynical election ploy by the Conservatives or then again it could be an example of good house-keeping to keep car parking charges under review. Equally, if car parking charges had not generated a surplus to help pay for other public services, would the Lib Dems have voted to increase council tax rather than accept the cuts that the Conservatives have delivered? After all, these services do have to be paid for, if they are to be continued rather than cut? Meantime, the electorate can only hope that the same flexibility which is being shown by the Conservative-led district council to review car parking charges, will spill over into a more flexible approach to reconsider the Chesterton development with Lib Dem support. GWS Observer
  • Score: 2

5:59pm Sun 7 Sep 14

Crispin Mount says...

A 2012 Rotten Boroughs Awards from Private Eye magazine went to Cotswold District Council's Tory Leader, with this comment:

"the Tory Council has unlawfully diverted millions from huge hikes in parking charges to fund other services - a practice which flouts government rules which clearly state that councils must not use parking fees as a "revenue raising measure""

Lord Gnome knows...
A 2012 Rotten Boroughs Awards from Private Eye magazine went to Cotswold District Council's Tory Leader, with this comment: "the Tory Council has unlawfully diverted millions from huge hikes in parking charges to fund other services - a practice which flouts government rules which clearly state that councils must not use parking fees as a "revenue raising measure"" Lord Gnome knows... Crispin Mount
  • Score: 2

10:28am Mon 8 Sep 14

Claire.M says...

Crispin Mount wrote:
A 2012 Rotten Boroughs Awards from Private Eye magazine went to Cotswold District Council's Tory Leader, with this comment:

"the Tory Council has unlawfully diverted millions from huge hikes in parking charges to fund other services - a practice which flouts government rules which clearly state that councils must not use parking fees as a "revenue raising measure""

Lord Gnome knows...
I'm sure I read somewhere recently that Liberal Democrat-controlled Cheltenham Borough Council has made profits exceeding £9m from parking charges over the past 4 years. I'd be interested to know what's happened to all that surplus revenue if it hasn't been used to fund other council-run services. Perhaps Crispin/Olly or one of his colleagues can shed some light?
[quote][p][bold]Crispin Mount[/bold] wrote: A 2012 Rotten Boroughs Awards from Private Eye magazine went to Cotswold District Council's Tory Leader, with this comment: "the Tory Council has unlawfully diverted millions from huge hikes in parking charges to fund other services - a practice which flouts government rules which clearly state that councils must not use parking fees as a "revenue raising measure"" Lord Gnome knows...[/p][/quote]I'm sure I read somewhere recently that Liberal Democrat-controlled Cheltenham Borough Council has made profits exceeding £9m from parking charges over the past 4 years. I'd be interested to know what's happened to all that surplus revenue if it hasn't been used to fund other council-run services. Perhaps Crispin/Olly or one of his colleagues can shed some light? Claire.M
  • Score: 2

11:02am Mon 8 Sep 14

ariel1953 says...

Sunday parking, Forum car park , FREE skillfully the SMALL notice is in a colour which does not attract the eye to this notice, perhaps the CDC will either correct this or donate any Sunday parking fee"s to charity?
Sunday parking, Forum car park , FREE skillfully the SMALL notice is in a colour which does not attract the eye to this notice, perhaps the CDC will either correct this or donate any Sunday parking fee"s to charity? ariel1953
  • Score: -1

9:40pm Mon 8 Sep 14

Ciren_Resident says...

Sunday/overnight parking is free everywhere in Cirencester except the Brewery Car Park - I don't believe this is any big secret!

I think most people will generally have a look at the charges in a car park when purchasing a ticket - and also check carefully when the charges are actually applicable.

I was in the Forum car park earlier today - it says very clearly on the ticket machine that charges apply 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. It can therefore be deduced that parking is FREE on Sundays.

However, if there is still room for doubt, it is helpfully printed directly to the left of the tariff list in large orange capital letters (bold and underlined!) - FREE ON SUNDAY & OVERNIGHT

Not exactly in the small print, as suggested by this comment!
Sunday/overnight parking is free everywhere in Cirencester except the Brewery Car Park - I don't believe this is any big secret! I think most people will generally have a look at the charges in a car park when purchasing a ticket - and also check carefully when the charges are actually applicable. I was in the Forum car park earlier today - it says very clearly on the ticket machine that charges apply 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. It can therefore be deduced that parking is FREE on Sundays. However, if there is still room for doubt, it is helpfully printed directly to the left of the tariff list in large orange capital letters (bold and underlined!) - FREE ON SUNDAY & OVERNIGHT Not exactly in the small print, as suggested by this comment! Ciren_Resident
  • Score: 4

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