Sunday parking charges are being reintroduced in the Cotswolds

Cotswold District Council is set to increase the cost of car parking in towns and villages — and scrap free parking on Sundays — to combat the loss of revenue it attributes to a rise in home working and online shopping post-pandemic.

By Jake Chown  |  Published
New charges at Cotswold District Council-operated car parks — including for season ticket holders — are set to come into effect from April 2024.

The cabinet at Cotswold District Council has agreed a new budget 2024/25, which includes plans to increase parking charges in line with inflation and reintroduce charging on Sundays.

The increases come as the council looks to avoid having to make tougher decisions about the services it provides in the future, with the government set to cut council funding by around £3 million from 2026/27.

Pay and stay charges would increase by no more than 20p for minimum stays at most car parks — up from 80p to £1 for up to 30 minutes; with the biggest increase being 50p — from £3.50 to £4 — for two hours in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Free parking on Sundays at the majority of the 20 car parks the council operates was introduced in 2019, with charging having been in place previously.

The council estimates it could earn a potential £105,000 of revenue each year by scrapping free parking on Sundays, with Monday to Friday usage still remaining below pre-pandemic levels due to an increase in home working and more people shopping online.

Increases to season ticket charges are also being proposed.

A public consultation on the budget was held in November 2023, following which the Sunday parking proposal was amended to delay charging until 12pm to allow worshippers of religious groups to park free of charge at certain car parks.

Cotswold District Council has expressed the importance of protecting parking revenue, as any surplus goes towards paying for services like public conveniences.

Councillor Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: 'Our proposals this year could save £1.5 million which would make a big difference and will help us to protect the services our residents and communities rely on.

'Last year, we were able to freeze car parking charges to help residents and visitors with the cost of living, but we can’t afford to continue that freeze.

'By making difficult decisions in this year’s budget, it will help us avoid making much tougher decisions in future and facing the harsh changes we have seen at councils that have lost control of their finances and faced bankruptcy.'

The new charges will come into effect from April 2024 if approved by full council this month.

Full details of the changes can be found on the Cotswold District Council's website.

More on Cotswold District Council

More from Business