A NATIONAL retail chief says the lack of coach parking in tourist hotspot Bourton is "astonishing".

British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) CEO Andrew Goodacre feels all involved should "redouble their efforts" after "bad news for hard-pressed local businesses".

The final coach spaces in the private Station Road car park were removed at the end of 2023 and Cotswold District Council explained why it could not at least provide drop-off points at its Rissington Road location.

But Mr Goodacre said: “Since we were made aware of this issue by our members, Bira has been working with them to make the relevant authority see sense.

"I even attended and spoke at a council meeting last December, pointing out that no buses in Bourton will be bad news for hard-pressed local businesses.

“It is astonishing that, after two years of knowing about this, it has not been possible to find a workable solution.

"Furthermore, how can the authorities spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on refurbishing a very large car park and not make spaces for a few buses?

"There has to be a solution and Bira urges everyone to redouble their efforts.”

The Rissington Road car park had a major refurbishment last year after the council invested £374,000.

A statement from Councillor Tony Dale (cabinet member for the economy and transformation), Cllr Mike Evemy (cabinet member for finance) and chief executive Robert Weaver said the authority had worked hard over two years to find a solution and would continue to do so.

Mr Weaver led a group involving businesses, Gloucestershire County Council and Bourton Parish Council for 12 months looking at possible answers.

They investigated using land at The Cotswold School or Bourton Industrial Park, creating drop-off bays and utilising the council’s Rissington Road car park but none were deemed possible.

The statement added: “The reasons we could not change the Rissington Road car park into a coach park include unaffordable costs and loss of income at a time when the council’s finances are under pressure from reduced funding and increasing costs due to inflation, loss of vital car parking spaces that could lead to more issues of cars parking in residential areas, the loss of disabled bays in the village, expected negative impact on the road network due to coaches turning into and out of the space and loss of funding for the successful tourism charge that has provided many improvements for the village."