CIRENCESTER mayor Joe Harris has rubbished the reasons given by Cotswold District Council for the amount of money collected from the town’s car parks last year.

CDC took £69,000 less than expected from the region’s car park last year and blamed the poor takings on the excessive bad weather, something that Cllr Harris disputes.

He said: “ I think the reason is the sky high prices. I personally think that they’re thieving the people of the Cotswolds and Cirencester.

“We want to see a reduction in parking charges, we want them to be made fairer.”

Despite these claims, councillors from CDC insist that the bad weather was the real reason for the loss and that Cllr Harris is not in a position to criticise them.

Cllr Barry Gibbs, CDC cabinet member responsible for parking, said: “The second coldest March on record resulted in more consumers staying at home and switching to online shopping during that period - it stands to reason that fewer shopping trips resulted in a reduction in demand for car parking.

“Unless Cllr Harris has obtained detailed information about consumer shopping habits across the district from Moreton to Tetbury, his comments would appear to be totally without foundation.”

Cllr Harris told the Standard that he would like to see a new system introduced where shoppers would be able to park in the town centre for free for 30 minutes.

He said: “A whole review needs to be done about parking.”