Residents Rejecting Parking Proposals


Residents across Cirencester are rejecting new on-street parking proposals put forward by the Cirencester Parking Partnership.

The plans would see on-street parking meters introduced in many parts of the town centre, as well as residents having to park hundreds of meters from their homes.

Cllr Joe Harris has led the calls to see the proposals scrapped in favour of a holistic approach.

Cllr Harris said: “We need to see an approach where the Cirencester Parking Partnership work with residents to draw up the plans, taking on their comments and acting on them.”

He added: “We also need to see charges cut in Cirencester’s car parks, this is the long term solution to easing the burden of on-street parking.”

Local resident Sally Hilliker, who is the Chairman of the Cirencester Residents Parking Group said: “These plans don’t help residents who are in desperate need of changes to their local parking schemes, the Parking Partnership have failed to communicate adequately with residents and that is not good enough.”

You have until Friday 28th March to respond to the consultation. Click the link to go to the consultation portal.


Have your say on new Parking Proposals

The Cirencester Parking Partnership led by Gloucestershire County Council open their consultation for new on-street parking proposals in the centre of Cirencester on Monday 3rd March.

The new plans include the introduction of on-street parking meters which Cllr Joe Harris has hit out at.

“It is important that you have your say about the new plans, there are some positives about the proposals but the introduction of on-street parking meters in my opinion is a step to far. High parking charges in car parks are pushing motorists to park on-street, we shouldn’t introduce on-street parking meters until the car parks are full. Reducing car parking charges would encourage motorists to park in Cirencester car parks.”

The consultation starts on Monday 3rd March at the Bingham Gallery in Dyer St at 12pm until 7pm.


Lib Dems cut the cost of a Parking Permit


Cllr Joe Harris in Ashcroft Rd

Cllr Joe Harris in Ashcroft Rd

Liberal Democrat Councillors secured a cut in the cost of a resident’s parking permit at Wednesday’s budget meeting in Gloucester.

Gloucestershire County Council voted to support Lib Dem plans to cut the price of a permit from £80 to £50, a move welcomed by Cirencester County Councillor Joe Harris.

Cllr Harris said: “I’m delighted that the price of a permit has been cut, it is clear that the enforcement of on-street parking isn’t good enough in Cirencester and residents should pay for a service they aren’t getting.”

He added: “This is an election pledge fufilled and I’m delighted by the response in the community who have welcomed this move with open arms. The challenge now is to make parking charges in our car parks cheaper.”

The reduced fare will come in from April.

Council makes £1.5 million profit from parking charges

New figures released by Cotswold District Council show that it made a profit of £1.5 million from parking charges across the Cotswolds.

Unaudited figures for the year ending March this year show that the Council had income of £2.2 million from its car parks and spent £817,000 on costs associated with them.

Residents across the Cotswolds have complained for years about the high cost of parking in the district compared to other local towns. Nearby Witney has free parking for example.

Now, Lib Dem councillors are calling for a complete review of charges following the release of this new set of figures.

At tomorrow’s Cotswold District Council meeting, Cllr Lee Searles (Park) is proposing a motion which seeks to boost the local economy. Cllr Joe Harris (Park) is seconding the motion:

“For years the Conservatives on CDC have been bleeding the Cotswolds dry with their obsession with high charges. Residents and businesses deserve better than this. Our motion calls for a complete rethink of this crazy policy.”

The wording of the motion is as follows:

“This Council notes that in the financial year 2012/13 a profit of £1.471 million was made from car parking charges across the Cotswolds. We therefore call for a full review of parking tariffs and structures to provide a stronger economy in our market towns and a fairer approach to charging.”


Joe Harris welcomes Lib Dem candidate for MP

joepaul2013Cotswold Liberal Democrats have selected their high profile leader on Cotswold District Council as their new Parliamentary Candidate.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson’s selection comes just four months after he stunned the Conservatives by becoming the first Lib Dem to win the so-called ‘true blue’ seat of Bourton and Northleach in this May’s county council elections.

The 51-year-old, who has lived in the Cotswolds for 25 years, will be up against the Cotswolds’ Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown who has held the seat since 1992.

“I have made this beautiful area my home and set up my small business here,” he said. “Residents asked me to stand after seeing my record as a councillor and I will be the voice for the many who feel disconnected from decisions made in Cirencester and at Shire Hall in Gloucester. I want to give our area a real voice, actively speaking up for it rather than seeing some MPs motivated by their own pockets.”

Cllr Hodgkinson was first elected to Cotswold District Council for the Churn Valley in 2007 and has held the rural seat since then. He became leader of the council’s Lib Dems four years ago, going on to steer the opposition group to the party’s best results nationally in 2011 when they gained seven seats to take their total to 12.

A successful local businessman with a strong record of campaigning for local people, he has fought against high parking charges, led road safety campaigns and challenged unethical behaviour by public figures in the Cotswold Water Park fraud scandal. 

The news was welcomed by Cirencester mayor Joe Harris who was mentored by Cllr Hodgkinson after he became the country’s youngest district councillor at the age of 19.

“The Cotswolds needs a change of representation at Westminster and Paul is the best man for the job,” said Cllr Harris. “Under his leadership we have been standing up for Cotswolds people on the big issues that matter  – tackling the cost of living in our area, working to sort out transport problems and protecting the unique character of the district. We need someone as our MP who can take the case to Parliament and get some action.”

Cllr Hodgkinson is planning to build on the dramatic swing to the Liberal Democrats across the Cotswolds which saw them gain three seats in May’s County Council elections.

“There is a demand for change and  growing disillusionment with the performance of the Tories locally, right through from district and county level to our MP’s track record in Parliament,” he said.

“It is shameful that our MP has done little to address the fact that the Cotswolds suffers from some of the highest rural house prices in the country coupled with low average wages.

“Those in power have concentrated on turning the area into a second home haven for privileged outsiders while ignoring the pressing needs of working local families. That is something I will be fighting to change.

“Our progress at district and county level has already shaken the Tories and we will be working hard to make the 2015 general election the next major upset.

“You can really feel the breath of fresh air that our new councillors have brought to local politics and it is gratifying that the voters have noticed. I will do everything I can to build a stronger economy and a fairer society in the Cotswolds and give this area the effective and energetic representation it so badly needs at Westminster.”

Your views sought on Cirencester Market Place plans…

Market Place Perspective2

Proposed Market Place scheme

I think its important that Cirencester residents get the best opportunity to have their say on the Market Place redevelopment plans, this week you get to have your say!

All week at the Niccol Theatre (Brewery Arts theatre) the plans for the Market Place are on show and you have the opportunity to drop in and view the plans as well as giving your feedback about the scheme. We’ve been open since Friday and had lots of people through the doors and want many more.

This Saturday (8th June) at 10am, a presentation by the officers driving the scheme will help clear up and questions, concerns or queries that residents may have. This will also be at the Niccol Theatre.

The Town Council will then consider the feedback, way forward and potential submission of a planning application at its meeting on Tuesday 9th July 2013 at 7pm. – we’d love to see you there.

For more information on the scheme click here.

Joe wins Cirencester landslide

58250_406016439481592_1099101093_nCllr Joe Harris was elected to Gloucestershire County Council  in a landslide result on May 2nd.

The newly created Cirencester Park division comprises of the Cirencester Chesterton, Park and Watermoor wards and Joe’s result cements the excellent Lib Dem results in the District Council elections two years ago.

The full result was:

Joe Harris (LD) 1690
Tony Curry (Con) 688
Bob Stephens (Ukip) 442
Reg Eyre (Lab) 165
Bob Irving (Green) 92

Majority 1002.

After the result was announced at midnight, Cllr Harris said, “This result shows the Cirencester has completely rejected the Conservative policies that are so damaging our town. It also shows that hard work pays off.”

He added “I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and who didn’t and I promise to them that I will represent them to the best of my ability as I set about trying to implement the commitments I made during the election campaign.”


Joe’s Six to Fix on Gloucestershire County Council

58250_406016439481592_1099101093_nJoe Harris has revealed six issues he and the Liberal Democrat group would like to get implemented if elected to the County Council on 2nd May.

1. Fix our potholes properly

Joe and the Lib Dem group will invest in additional repairs to our roads and footways to repair the damage left after eight years of Tory neglect. We will release £5 million worth of surplus funds in the council’s reserves to help fix the enormous number of potholes on the county’s roads.

2. Bring in fairer parking charges

Joe and the Lib Dem group will campaign to freeze on-street car parking charges across Gloucestershire. In residents’ parking permit zones Liberal Democrats will reduce the annual fee from £80 to £50.

3. Protect the green belt

As the need for more housing in the UK increases, Joe will ensure that Cirencester residents are listened to and consulted properly if further applications for housing developments are submitted. Joe will also look to identify brownfield sites for development before the greenbelt is considered.

4. Cut speeding on our roads and improve road safety

One death on the road is too many. Joe will work with local residents to set up a community speed watch to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding. Joe will also seek to lower the speed limit on Cirencester’s duel carriageways and put in place barriers along the Tetbury Road to prevent people crossing inappropriately.

 5. Freeze the cost of “meals on wheels”

Joe and the Lib Dem group will freeze the current cost of meals on wheels (£3.50 for a hot meal and £2.50 for a frozen meal) for the lifetime of the next council.

6. Invest in young people

Joe and the Lib Dem group will increase the amount of money District Councillors receive to support youth work in their communities.

They will also make sure that all schools in Gloucestershire receive the maximum  sum from the Liberal Democrat pupil premium (£900 per eligible pupil from April 2013) and that best practice on using this extra cash is shared between schools.

Car Parking Charges – Action!

Cllr Joe Harris leads the protest against 24/7 parking charges in the Brewery Car Park

Cllr Joe Harris leads the protest against 24/7 parking charges in the Brewery Car Park

We all agree that parking charges in Cirencester are unfair and the town is suffering as a result. This coupled with 24/7 parking charges introduced into the Brewery Car Park (which CDC haven’t ruled out introducing into all car parks) means Cirencester faces an uncertain economic future. We’ve all had enough.

February 26th is budget day in the Cotswolds and Cotswold District Council will be setting their budget for the 2013/14 financial year. The Lib Dem group and I will be putting forward proposals to make Parking Charges fairer but we need your help and support.

Just being at the meeting sends a clear message to the administration that this is a matter that you care about and expect to be listened to. We really want to see as many of you as possible. We saw over 150 people attend the on-street parking meeting back in November and just under 100 attend Cirencester Town Council’s special parking meeting last year.

We need your support to succeed.

I hope to see you on Tuesday 26th February, 10am at Cotswold District Council and please spread the word.

On-street Parking Proposlas rejected by Town Council

Cllr Joe Harris in Ashcroft Rd

Cllr Joe Harris in Ashcroft Rd

Cirencester Town Council have rejected on-street parking proposals put forward by the Cirencester Parking Partnership at a Council meeting attended by just under 100 local residents.

The proposals would mean that most streets in the centre of Cirencester would have the residents parking permit scheme.

Deputy Mayor of Cirecnester, Cllr Joe Harris who led the charge to reject the plans said: “These plans aren’t for for purpose, the engagement with local residents was pretty much non-existent, consultation is a two way street and residents were feeing in but getting nothing out.”

He added: “By rejecting these proposals we are sending a clear message that the residents of Cirencester want to be listened to and won’t be ignored.”

The Town Council voted to reject the current proposals and demand that the Parking Partnership come back with new proposals when they have thoroughly consulted with residents.

The Liberal Democrat group on Cotswold District Council put forward a 5 point plan for on-street parking back in October. Click here to view the 5 point plan.

To view the plans that were rejected click here.


Cllr Joe Harris

14 Park St
T: 07540 734 500

Joe has lived in Cirencester for most of his life. He attended Powells and Deer Park school before going on to study at Cirencester College.

He was a youth leader (voluntarily) at the Cirencester Cyber Cafe for 5 years before deciding to move on in the summer of 2011 after the local elections. 

Joe worked beind the bar at the Crown for two years and is a familiar face in the commuity.

Joe decided to run for council after being the victim of crime in Cirencester and was shocked that Cotswold District Council had slashed CCTV monitoring hours behind closed doors.

He was elected along with Cllr Lee Searles in May 2011 for Cirencester Park Ward, defeating the then Conservative mayor; both Joe and Lee achieved the biggest Liberal Democrat 'swing' in the country with 25%. 

He is currently standing for Gloucestershire County Council for the Park Division that incldes the Chesterton, Park and Watermoor Wards.

Joe priorities are:

  • -Lowering Parking Charges in Cirencester to support the local economy

  • -Making sure residents are listened on important issues through proper consutation and improving the way local authorities communicate with local people

  • -Campagning for sustanable new housing for local families

  • -Fixing Cirencester broken roads

  • -Ensuring Cirencester CCTV system is fit for purpose

  • -Getting a fair deal for the town from Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council