COTSWOLD District Council (CDC) has scrapped cash payments at three of its car parks in the district.

Visitors to the car parks at the abbey grounds, the old station, and the leisure centre now must pay via: contactless, card, by phone or using an app.

Concerns have been raised that the new payment methods will exclude those who still depend on cash and those without a bank account.

On a social media post by CDC announcing the new measures on social media, one person commented: "This decision will detrimentally affect many people who are already digitally excluded."

And another wrote: "I work in a shop in Cirencester. We have lots and lots of customers telling us how frustrated they are with broken parking machines, an app that takes 15 minutes of their time, if they are willing and able and have the technology to deal with it."

Cllr Richard Morgan, leader of the Conservative opposition group on the council, said: "This decision is yet another hammer blow to our high streets and our local business owners. During 2019/20, 72% of CDC income from parking fees was paid in cash. As our high streets are trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the wrong time to do anything which makes it less convenient for people to visit our town centres.

"We believe that people should continue to be given the choice to pay by app, card or cash."

Responding the concerns, CDC chief executive Robert Weaver said: “With the vast majority of the community now using debit cards, paying by card or paying by phone through the Pay-by-Phone app gives more flexibility for drivers.

"The introduction of cashless machines also improves security by eliminating cash held in the machines, which reduces the risk of theft and vandalism.

"With no requirement to collect cash from machines, there is also the added benefit of reducing costs associated with emptying machines and the council’s carbon footprint.”