Bourton-on-the-Water: councillors vote for coach ban

Bourton-on-the-Water has voted in favour of restrictions for coaches entering the Cotswold village – one of the industry’s most popular destinations.

At a parish meeting, councillors voted six to three in favour of introducing Traffic Restriction Orders (TROs) preventing access for tourist coaches along two key routes, and will now consult with the Highways Authority as to how to implement the restrictions. Local businesses including nearby Pulhams’ Coaches have spoken out against the move.

“Welcome to Bourton-on-the-Water, but only if you can come in a car and have loads of money,” said John Kerslake, co-owner of Fresh For Lunch café. “Please don’t come if you are visiting from overseas on a coach tour. Please don’t come if you’re a pensioner on a coach trip visiting for an affordable day out.

“Please don’t come if you’d like to enjoy this amazing village that those lucky enough to live here enjoy every day,” reported Gloucestershire Live.

The coach park in Station Road closed last year despite appeals to find an alternative, and now some residents say a coach traffic ‘free for all’ is making the streets unsafe. Cotswold District Council has claimed that adapting local car parking is not feasible.

Andy Pulham, MD of Pulhams Coaches, said a total of 238,750 tourists visited Bourton by coach in 2019, and this amounts to 25% of all the tourism footfall: “Could a business survive if it loses that amount of footfall? He asked the meeting, attended by around 40 people. Andy highlighted that the local business community has already offered £15,000 for a solution on a local industrial estate.

His wife and fellow director, Kathryn Pulham, said: “What PR catastrophe are you creating when you’re suggesting banning coaches from a village whose main employer is indeed a coach company?

“We have contributed to this community as Pulhams Coaches and others around for many years in ways most people would not imagine. If every village treated us in the way you are treating us we wouldn’t be in business and would not be able to contribute in the way we have.”

If approved in April, the restrictions will ban access to the village from the A429 Fosseway into Lansdowne and High Street and Station Road. There could also be a ban on entry from Rissington Road (which has a substantial car park) and from Kingfisher Road. Together with access restrictions from Lankett Lane junction, this would effectively ban coaches from Bourton-on-the-Water.

The news drew a huge amount of criticism from the industry on social media: “It’s sobering thought that based on the average occupancy on a car journey of around 1.7, Bourton is going to have to find capacity for more than 94,000 additional cars if those 160,000 visitors are still going to come and support local businesses,” commented Andy Warrender, of RHA Coaches.

“Countdown to the “traffic hell in Bourton on the Water” headlines over the summer as everyone tries to access the village by car,” commented Luke Marion, MD of Oxford Bus Company. “Plus of course the inevitable downturn in footfall that many businesses in the village will unfortunately experience. A ridiculous decision based on personal views rather than evidence.”

The coach cause is being championed by Sir Geoffrey Cliston-Brown MP, who has set up a meeting on 27 March to seek collaboration between the parish councillors, Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses some unobtrusive cookies to store information on your computer, these are in place to ensure that you receive the best possible experience when using the Bus & Coach Buyer website.