The problem of ‘empty’ villages and the persecution of car drivers
SUFFOCATING THE HEART OF THE VILLAGE
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
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