THERE is now no dedicated coach parking within walking distance of the "Venice of the Cotswolds".

Talks go on over replacing the final eight parking spaces in tourist hotspot Bourton-on-the-Water which were lost at the privately-owned Bourton Vale car park at the end of last month.

"Frustrated" local resident Andy Pulham, of Pulham Coaches, feels "short-sighted" decisions could put village businesses at risk.

Mr Pulham said: "Is stopping coaches coming to the village and encouraging many more cars the answer? As a resident, I don't feel it is. It's extremely short-sighted.

"The spend from people that travel by coach is far greater than those that travel by car. The village thrives on the coaches as they are there 12 months of the year rain or shine.

"The people who travel in on coach are often elderly or those with no access to cars so should we really stop them coming to this lovely part of the world? Stopping coaches would reduce the number of tourists. They call it the Venice of the Cotswolds.

"We must also remember people who work in local businesses also live locally. And, as a resident, I want to keep these facilities in the quieter months."

Mr Pulham says numbers have reduced but currently around four or five coaches per day drop visitors off as close as possible and then park at Bourton Industrial Estate or in lay-bys.

He continued: "I'm frustrated. I feel the councils are looking for problems rather than solutions. The district council own the only council car park in the village.

"A drop-off point in that Rissington Road car park before the coaches go to the industrial estate to park and pay a fee to use the facility would be a perfect solution.

"But in every meeting up to now they will not consider providing a drop-off point."

A Bourton-on-the-Water Parish Council statement said: "Regretfully there is now no dedicated parking for coaches in the village.

"The council has spent many hours in discussions with Cotswold District Council, Gloucestershire Highways, the police and local businesses without reaching a solution that balances the needs of our residents, businesses and visitors.

"The council has no direct influence over these organisations other than asking them to consider or reconsider their positions in trying to find a solution.

"We are continuing to discuss possible solutions with all parties to find a solution that meets the needs and satisfaction of the community as a whole where the health and safety of residents and visitors is paramount."

In a joint statement from Councillor Tony Dale (cabinet member for the economy and transformation), Cllr Mike Evemy (cabinet member for finance) and Robert Weaver (chief executive), the district council said: “We have worked very hard over the past two years to find a solution to coach parking in Bourton-on-the-Water following the decision by the private car park owner to stop providing coach parking in the village.

"Unfortunately, no solution has been found despite our best efforts. No stone has been left unturned and we will continue to work with the county council, police, local businesses and the parish council to help manage coach visits to the village."