Cotswolds' Venice gets cash to splash
By Simon Hacker | 18th July 2023
A 50p levy on tourist parking at the Cotswolds' 'Venice' has landed the Cotswold District Council with a problem: how will they splash the cash?
For inspiration, councillors have decided to ask residents of Bourton-on-the-Water tourism hotspot to give their views on the best way to allocate the bonus.
Raised through the Rissington Road car park tourism levy, the scheme is now in its third year. It has netted £70,000 so far.
But with footfall increasing after the pandemic, the total for the latest collection, the council expects, could well top £65,000.
Cllr Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said; "The tourism levy we introduced in the Rissington Road car park has raised much-needed funds to spend on projects and activities in the village that help to manage the impact of visitors who come to enjoy what Bourton-on-the-Water has to offer.
"We are really pleased to have been able to support the village in recent years using this innovative approach and it has been a great success to date. So far, we have been able to fund some great initiatives including a refresh of the village green and the provision of a village warden."
He added that the council has also investing in new double-drop kerbs to improve accessibility in the village and introduced of a Traffic Regulation Order to tackle visitors parking on residential roads.
"I would like to encourage all residents of Bourton-on-the-Water to take part in the consultation to help us decide how the funds to be collected this year by the tourism levy will be best spent."
Possible proposals, says CDC, include measures to improve traffic, cycle parking, improvements to public spaces, repairs to footpaths and ways to make the village more accessible to disabled residents and visitors.
Since April 2021, for every stay at the Rissington Road car park, 50p of the parking fee has gone into the fund to be spent on local projects with the Council expecting it to raise more than £65,000 this year.
A spokesman said: "Despite the closure of the car park for refurbishment between November and March 2022, over £40,000 was raised last year. Funds from the 2021/22 tourism levy were invested into a new village warden, larger waste bins, bollards to stop illegal parking and a study into how we can improve the village for disabled visitors and residents."
The public consultation opened on Monday and will run for four weeks, with residents asked to rank the proposals in priority order - and make suggestions or comments on proposals.
The consultation is available through the Council's website and closes on August 13th.
But how will the money be allocated?
● Increased use of the Rissington Road car park comes in the wake of a heated debate between local businesses, the council and the town's privately car park which, as Punchline reported in June, faces a looming ban on coach parking .
Copyright 2023 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.