Sound move for Bourton

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Cotswold District Council invests £50,000 in sound barrier after five-year agreement put in place at controversial Station Road coach park

Cabinet members at Cotswold District Council (CDC) have approved a plan to invest £50,000 for a sound barrier at Bourton-on-the-Water coach park – and to take  responsibility for the site for five years.

Councillors discussed the issue which attracted national attention when Bourton Vale Parking (BVP) Ltd – the owner of Station Road car park – had threatened to prevent coaches from parking there from February 1 after noise complaints from residents. BVP’s move came in response to it being threatened with legal action by CDC under the Environment Act of 1990.

However, as reported in CBW at the time, agreement was reached on January 28 with CDC to keep it open while the council formalised a long-term deal.

The cabinet has now voted voted in favour of recommendations to enter into a lease of the space and carry out work at the site to protect against environmental violations. The money committed, which come from CDC’s Priorities Fund, will go towards the construction of a sound barrier likely to cost £50,000, as well as £2,000 for set-up costs, the legal agreement for the revenue cost and reasonable enforcement cost

CDC said coaches do not generate the same level of income as cars, proportional to the space they take up, and, therefore, coach parking can be a loss-making service. As a result, the council has entered into a five-year management agreement, which will provide 20 spaces for coaches, with five additional spaces on 20 busy days during the year. The freeholder of the site (BVP) will take responsibility for providing pay and display machines and will provide an on-site supervisor, which helps manage the safe movement and parking of coaches. The council will receive no income from the site, as all parking income will be retained by the freeholder.

According to the cabinet report seen by CBW, up to 60 coaches a day use the facility between April and September. Prior to the latest agreement, CDC examined the possibility of taking out a commercial lease on part of the site for coach parking, which would see it take receipt of income generated. However, this option was discounted after it was found it could lead to an estimated loss of £50,000 per annum. CDC also considered modifying its Rissington Road car park to accommodate coaches. However, it was found that access would not be ideal for coaches – and the loss in income would be greater than the cost of entering into an agreement for BVP’s Station Road site.

Reacting to the news, Cllr Nicholas Parsons, CDC’s Deputy Leader, said: “We don’t have a legal obligation to coach parks in Bourton, but I was very keen for this to be supported. We’re able to do this because we have sufficient resources due to our previously made savings.”