Businesses in Moreton and Stow have voiced their disappointment and confusion at the council’s decision to change parking rules in the area.

At the Cotswold District Council cabinet meeting on Monday, the decision was made to scrap the ‘Free after 3pm’ scheme at six car parks in the area.

Among those affected are Maugersbury Road in Stow and Old Market Way in Moreton.

It is hoped the change will raise an extra £350,000 in revenue, however the decision has not been well-received by local businesses.

Melissa Blundell, owner of The Cotswold Snug which opened on Old Market Way in July 2021, said: “I’m very disappointed that the council are going to take the free parking after 3 away and a little surprised that they haven’t contacted local businesses like myself to inform us of their decision!

“I think it’s very short sighted of them!

“Times are tough enough for businesses as it is at the moment and taking away things like free parking (albeit for a few hours) is certainly not going to help bring more visitors to Old Market Way businesses.”

Cotswold Journal: Melissa Blundell is concerned the changes may see shoppers head elsewhereMelissa Blundell is concerned the changes may see shoppers head elsewhere

She added: “I know from conversations I’ve had with some of my customers in the past that they visit Moreton later in the day for exactly that reason, free and easy parking!

"Seeing as West Oxfordshire has free parking (all day) businesses in Moreton/Stow will certainly lose out to the likes of Chipping Norton and Witney."

“It’s very sad that the council put local businesses at the bottom of their list of priorities especially in these difficult times!"

Jan Butler, owner of Sweet Thoughts, also on Old Market Way, said: “It’s disappointing as a few people I know do use it, however as the town has free parking in the market square not sure if it will have a great impact, there is a wider issue in Moreton with all the parking.”

The Cotswold Cheese Company has branches in both Stow and Moreton.

Jon Goodchild, who runs the business with his wife Lisa, said: “It does seem crazy as the rest of the parking in the town is free and seems to work just fine.

“I feel sorry for the businesses in Old Market Way!”

These feelings are reciprocated in Stow.

Jan Draper, owner of Doux Amour on Digbeth Street, said: “I don’t know if it would particularly affect me but so many customers do raise parking as an issue.

“We have a hard job getting people to Stow in general, this can only hinder not help.”

Cotswold Journal: Maugersbury Road in Stow is one of six car parks affectedMaugersbury Road in Stow is one of six car parks affected

But councillor Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said he did not believe traders would see a 'significant effect'.

He added: "Our revenue budget is under severe pressure and we need to look at finding more revenue to continue to meet the needs of residents.

"The financial constraints of the council are such that we cannot afford to give away parking.

"We recognise businesses have gone through a really tough time but they also need a council that is strong and supporting them.

"We have to balance our budget. I do accept it would be preferable for people if we didn't make changes."