‘Free after 3’ to end in Cotswold District from 4 April to help fund local car parks

Cotswold District Council Press Release – 11 March 2022

The ‘Free after 3’ car parking scheme is due to come to an end in the Cotswolds on 4 April 2022 after 6 years as budget cuts to local government require changes to car parking charges.

Councillor Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Our core Government funding has been cut by around 60 per cent over the past 10 years. We are also facing inflationary pressures on our finances and the costs of our services, so we must plan ahead if we are to protect and improve our car parks.

“By making changes to our car parking charging, including charging after 3 pm in all our car parks, we will be able to support our services while investing in the modernisation of our car parks.

“We have plans to make upgrades by installing more electric vehicle charging points and we will be completely refurbishing the Rissington Road car park in Bourton-on-the-Water.

“The decision to change parking charges is not one we take lightly. However, due to the constraints on the Council’s finances, we need to make tough choices if we are to manage our budget effectively and continue to invest in our car parks.”

The Council is ending the ‘free after 3 pm’ scheme which was introduced in 2015 at a time when there was a shortage of parking spaces in Cirencester while maintenance work in the Forum car park was taking place.

The Council is planning to invest in the future of its car parks by installing new electric vehicle charging points and by making enhancements across the Council car parks.

As part of the Council’s budget consultation last autumn, residents were asked whether they thought charging periods in our car parks should change in order to raise much-needed additional revenue. Of the three alternative changes presented, re-introducing charges between 3 pm to 6 pm was the preferred option.

All Cotswold District car parks will now be operated at the same times on Mondays to Saturdays, with charging from 8 am to 6 pm. It will remain free to park on Sundays in district council car parks except those in Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold. Free parking during the evening and overnight continues in all car parks.