AN ANGRY motorist has discovered that parking fines collected in a Cirencester street have quadrupled in just one year.

Daniel Read put in a Freedom of Information request (FOI) to Gloucestershire County Council after he was issued with a £70 fine in Castle Street on January 13 this year.

The information he requested revealed that during the period from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017, more than 150 fines were issued totalling £5,110.

But during the period from April 1 last year to March 31 of this year, more than 650 fines were issued, raising a whopping £21,458.

Mr Read, from Surrey, who was visiting his family at the time he was fined, branded the increase as a ‘stealth tax’.

Castle Street is within a restricted parking zone and there are signs in place, although there are no yellow lines.

On appeal, Mr Read said the sign outside the premises he parked beside was missing, though it shows it in place on Google Street View, and a council plan also shows it in place.

After six months, Mr Read won an appeal against the ticket on the grounds of a procedural error: the tribunal found that signage was not adequate.

During the appeal, Mr Read lodged an FOI request as he saw numerous other cars ticketed that night.

“It highlights that in one calendar year, just on this one street, the issue of penalty charge notices and revenue raised has quadrupled, he said. “This despite the fact that the council says there has been no policy change.

“Strikes me that they’re trying to raise a lot more money in this stealth tax than actually making a difference to the through-flow of the street itself.”

Responding to the findings, Jim Daniels, parking manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “It is impossible to identify one single cause for the increase of issued parking tickets, however over the past couple of years a number of changes have been made to Cirencester town centre under the town council’s regeneration scheme.

“All the signage for on-street parking on Castle Street is correct and clearly visible.

“We’d encourage drivers to double check the signs and regulations before leaving their vehicle to avoid being issued with a penalty.”

The work for the scheme was completed in March 2017, with an original date for completion in November 2016.