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The prob­lem of ‘empty’ vil­lages and the per­se­cu­tion of car driv­ers

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS -

SUF­FO­CAT­ING THE HEART OF THE VIL­LAGE

Sir,

I read with great in­ter­est your lead let­ter in the No­vem­ber is­sue re­gard­ing our Cotswold vil­lages. I live in a beau­ti­ful vil­lage which is slowly be­ing killed by new ‘week­enders’ - the peo­ple who can now af­ford the houses come down on Fri­day bring­ing all their needs with them. They then head back on Sun­day.

Friends of mine who live in the mid­dle of the vil­lage say around them is to­tally dead dur­ing week as so many of the houses are empty. These peo­ple also do not use our vil­lage shop, which is strug­gling now, and do not in­te­grate into vil­lage life.

The heart of the vil­lage is be­ing suf­fo­cated. There are so many reper­cus­sions from these homes be­ing lost. They also falsely in­flate the prices and take the homes from gen­uine fam­i­lies who want to live there and whose chil­dren might at­tend the vil­lage school, all con­tribut­ing to vil­lage life.

Equally hor­rific are the sec­ond homers. We have had three or four, which is a lot in small vil­lage, who will only oc­cupy these fam­ily houses for a cou­ple of months a year after buy­ing them up.

Our nar­row High Street has been en­gulfed with builders and such mak­ing it al­most im­pass­able at times, Some of the work, di­rected by peo­ple who don’t know bet­ter, in­volves knock­ing down old walls and then re­plac­ing them with very bright new stone cre­at­ing tacky ex­te­ri­ors ideal for a Cadbury cho­co­late box and not com­pat­i­ble with aged stone in vil­lage cen­tre. I hope Coun­cils and the govern­ment might in­crease what these peo­ple pay on tax and buy­ing costs to de­ter them from buy­ing. If not our vil­lages will be lost. Name and ad­dress sup­plied

DRIV­ERS ARE NOW JUST COUN­CIL CASH COWS

Sir,

Fur­ther to your Com­ment in the No­vem­ber is­sue of Cotswold Life, Stroud District Coun­cil pro­cure­ment rules do not have a £10,000 thresh­old. It’s £25,000. The ARUP park­ing re­port cost £10,140 in­clud­ing VAT. It also came on the back of an­other (off-street) park­ing re­port that cost £4,608 in 2017.

De­spite the ten­den­tious na­ture of the later re­port, SDC are not pur­su­ing a re­fund de­spite the re­port’s bla­tant flaws. There are 418 prin­ci­pal (uni­tary, up­per and sec­ond tier) coun­cils in the UK. In Eng­land: 27 county coun­cils, 201 district coun­cils, and 125 uni­tary coun­cils. And yet ARUP could not find a sin­gle coun­cil or study of park­ing that demon­strated an oc­ca­sion where the re­moval of such free park­ing had any pos­i­tive out­comes as per their rec­om­men­da­tions. Re­mark­able!

ARUP were also eco­nom­i­cal with the truth when they cited a study which was a re­port into the alle­vi­a­tion of (pre­dictable) prob­lems some years AFTER free park­ing was stopped. Those places suf­fered.

To at­tract shop­pers to Stroud dur­ing Christ­mas, the coun­cil has al­lowed free park­ing for many years. Even Cotswold District Coun­cil dropped its over­priced charg­ing. Sal­is­bury dropped park­ing charges in the af­ter­math of the botched Rus­sian as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt. The con­trary logic of SDC and ARUP sug­gests that these coun­cils should charge more to in­crease trade/foot­fall. Plus, they all seem to have for­got­ten that res­i­dents and traders are al­ready pay­ing for park­ing (plus their wages and ‘al­lowances’!) but in­stead driv­ers are just con­sid­ered cash cows ripe for fur­ther milk­ing. Chris Jezewski, Wood­ch­ester We want to hear from you! Email let­[email protected] or write to Cotswold Life Feed­back, Cum­ber­land House, Oriel Road, Chel­tenham, GL50 1BB

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