‘Ban coaches’ idea mooted by council leader in Bourton-on-the-Water crisis
In an interview on BBC local radio, the Cotswold District Council Leader has suggested that coaches could be excluded from Bourton-on-the-Water. Lib Dem Joe Harris claimed that the hotspot is ‘over-touristed’ and should perhaps focus purely on visitors who come by car.
Phillips International’s Julian Phillips said they’d be boycotting the Cotswolds hotspot of Bourton-on-the-Water until its coach parking has been addressed. The coach park closes on New Year’s Eve.
“We see that the writing is on the wall, and we are no longer welcome,” said Julian. “There’s also a prohibition on coaches travelling down the main street, which doesn’t apply to buses.” Local residents have labelled as ‘ridiculous’ the lack of parking or drop-off points in the town.
“Where are they going to drop off?” asked one resident on the BBC Radio Gloucestershire. “Will they be pulling up round the back making a problem for the residents?”
Andy Pulham, Head of Operations at Pulham’s Coaches, was at a council meeting: “The parish council has limited powers but we would like them to go back to Cotswold and District Council ‘to put the Rissington Road Car Park, which they control, back on the table. There is a solution but we want the District Council to assist us with that.
“There is congestion but it isn’t coaches that are the problem, it’s the cars. Coaches come 12 months of the year and on the rainy days,” he said, and warned that if tourism businesses suffer, local residents will lose the facility they provide. He says 25% of tourism business comes from coaches.
“That’s £4.5 million taken away from local businesses. I just don’t understand it. Coaches are extremely environmentally friendly and take away congestion. However the local district council appear to be adamant about damaging that.
“They have known for five years this situation yet they spent £300,000 of taxpayers’ money on the Rissington Road Car Park with no thought whatsoever for coaches and the situation we now find ourselves in.”
Leader of Cotswold District Council, Joe Harris, told BBC Radio presenter Jon Smith: “Over the last two years we’ve worked really had to find a solution to coach parking in Bourton. This is a private provider deciding to stop coach parking and today, no solution has been found despite our best efforts. None of the options are feasible.
“Coach parking isn’t something we’ve historically done. We don’t do it in any other settlement in the Cotswolds which have coaches. We looked at Rissington Road Car Park but the costs of trying to rework that, and with the loss of income, we just can’t afford to do that. It was probably have an unexpected impact on the road network in that part of Bourton.
“We are probably at a time now to have a review about whether we want coaches actually coming to Bourton-on-the-Water. We need to adapt accordingly. I don’t think there’s any evidence to support that [25% of tourism revenue comes from coaches].”