The oft-controversial Bourton Vale coach parking arrangements in Bourton-on-the-Water have taken a further turn after the facility’s owners circulated details of pre-booking arrangements for two-hour slots from 1 February. That is ahead of the expected permanent removal of coach spaces there at the end of the year.
For now, eight coach bays will continue to be provided by Bourton Vale Parking at the site, according to a notice sent to local businesses. Pre-bookings must be made via a web portal. Bourton-on-the-Water Visitor Information Centre will coordinate those reservations.
The notice adds that ANPR will be used “to ensure only legitimate use of the coach parking bays by operators that have pre-booked,” adding that “there is no other provision in the village for parking or drop off/pick up of passengers.” Minibuses of 16 seats and under will continue to be accepted without reservation at Bourton Vale.
Attempting to make a dummy reservation via the link shows that each fixed two-hour slot costs £20. Bookings can currently be made until 31 December. Draft minutes of a Bourton-on-the-Water Parish Council meeting held on 9 January state that the Bourton Vale site will “close permanently” to coaches beyond that. Bourton Vale Parking had previously indicated that it planned to withdraw all coach parking provision from Bourton Vale in late 2022.
Slots are between 0830-1030hrs, 1100-1300hrs, 1330-1530hrs and 1600-1800hrs. However, the Visitor Information Centre has confirmed that if consecutive slots are booked, the coach will be permitted to remain in place across the ‘dead’ period between them. Slots have been arranged to remove conflict between coaches departing and those arriving, a Visitor Information Centre representative says.
Google Maps shows that Bourton Vale previously had 19 coach spaces. Reduction of provision there comes while work is underway to improve the nearby Rissington Road car park in the village. That task is being undertaken by Cotswold District Council (CDC) and is costing £374,000, with completion due in the spring.
CDC has not responded to an enquiry asking why coach parking does not form part of the Rissington Road improvements. The Parish Council meeting draft minutes note that CDC was asked to include coach provision as part of the work, “but had not been in agreement.”
In 2022, when continued provision of coach spaces at Bourton Vale was under one of the multiple threats that it has seen since 2015, CDC said it was “keen to understand” the potential impact of any removal.
During 2016, CDC acknowledged that businesses in Bourton are heavily reliant on coach passengers, although a threat to coach provision at Bourton Vale during that year cited issues with drivers idling engines for long periods as a reason.