The increased demand for parking in Cirencester in recent years has put pressure on the existing car parks and they are often filled to capacity at peak times. Around 347 additional spaces will be required by 2031 to meet the existing demand and the anticipated growth set out in the Local Plan.
The council owns most of the car parks in Cirencester, and we have been monitoring demand on a monthly basis for several years. You can view the usage date in our Parking Survey Results:
Parking is one of the council's top priorities so to develop the best solutions to this problem, we established a Parking Board:
Proposed multi-storey car park at the Waterloo site
After getting detailed designs and costings we propose a ground parking level and four decks, because this many decks are required to:
- deliver the required additional capacity, without compromising on design and customer experience (for example, regular parking bays will be 2.5m width rather than the standard 2.4m)
- make the car park financially viable (a smaller car park would be proportionately more expensive)
View details of the car park specification in Layouts and Elevations:
Overview of project
Following feasibility work by consultants engaged to review options for increasing car park capacity in Cirencester, we concluded that the Waterloo car park was the most suitable site for decking. Consultation with residents and other interested parties in 2017 provided some very valuable early stage feedback on views regarding the decking proposal. We have collated concerns raised and it is now a requirement that the architect appointed has regard to these issues in their design.
We have employed a specialist parking consultant to support the Council in the project management of the scheme and they are designing the operational element of the car park. This information will then inform the architects brief. RIBA will run a two stage procurement for an architect, which will include a design competition; this should ensure that the appointed architect not only has sufficient experience and skills to design the car park but also has truly understood the design brief and can design something of a suitable high quality that is appropriate for the car park's setting in historic Cirencester.
To support the relevant planning application, a proposal has been developed, data gathered and surveys completed.
The decision on the specific number of spaces and decks at the Waterloo has not yet been made as the appointed architect will develop proposals. At that stage we will hold further open public consultation events and invite further comments from the public which will then influence how we move the project forward.
Read more about our decked parking proposals:
Design options for the external facade
The council awarded PCH-a architects with the contract to further develop the concept design of Aluminium on Stone:
These are the original three designs considered for the exterior of the new Waterloo car park:
Cirencester Rugby Club parking proposal
We have secured an agreement for the use of Cirencester Rugby Club for parking during the working week. Subject to planning permission, this site would be used to provide for permit holder long stay parking during and after the Waterloo multi-storey build. This means that the permit holders would park their cars on the site Monday to Friday.
In the shorter term, we are working on some ‘quick wins’ to provide extra capacity or ‘smooth out’ usage of the car parks. This includes free offers to encourage off-peak parking, improving cycle parking in the town, and working with local businesses and landowners to identify extra parking spaces which can be delivered relatively quickly. We also continue to look at other options which could provide more decant parking during the Waterloo construction work.
Frequently Asked Questions about parking in Cirencester
Q. Is there really a problem with parking in Cirencester?
A. Yes – at certain times some car parks are full to capacity, there is little on-street parking and it is hard to find spaces even when they are available. An ongoing survey of spaces is providing the Council with a valuable evidence base to determine future need for additional parking.
Q. Why is there a problem?
A. There are a number of reasons. Despite the recession, Cirencester has continued to thrive and has become very successful. This means that there are now hundreds more motorists coming into the town during a typical day compared with the number going out.
While demand for parking has risen, capacity in our car parks has reduced slightly (mainly because of improvements to our sites, such as wider bays and additional disabled spaces that comply with the latest government regulations). It’s also worth mentioning that there are very few on-street parking spaces in the town as an alternative to off-street spaces in CDC’s car parks.
Q. Has the St James’s Place development made the parking situation worse?
Not as much as you think. St James's Place is privately renting a large car park over by the hospital and this, together with the other car parking they have, largely accommodates all of their staff. The company also provides numerous spaces for staff who want to cycle to work, as well as encouraging their workforce to walk to the office.
Q. What’s being done?
A. Cotswold District Council owns most of the car parks in Cirencester so we know that it is down to us to find the best solutions. We are looking at the feasibility of expanding the capacity of our car parks.
Q. Why can’t something be done faster?
A. Of course there are huge considerations here: planning regulations, archaeological restraints, conservation issues, residents’ safety and wellbeing, highways regulations but we are working as quickly as we can within the constraints we face.
Q. Why does it take so long to put up a decked car park?
A. It is not as simple as finding a plot and building a car park. In order to build a car park that is sustainable and fit for purpose we need to make sure it:
- Is in the right place
- Is financially viable
- Is acceptable to the local community
- satisfies all regulatory considerations.
Q. What about those temporary car parks that apparently only take a few days to erect?
A. We are looking at this option. However, any car park that has trees on site will not be suitable and, despite the hype, it could end up taking as long to pursue this option as building a new one. In addition, we need to obtain landowners' consent, highways approval, and any necessary planning permission. We’re still working on it.
Q. What are you doing to 'future proof' parking so we don’t have this again?
A. The current Parking Board is developing capacity to satisfy all the development allocated in the District’s local plan. It is likely that the Parking Board will continue to monitor and advise on these issues long after any car parking is built.
Q. What about the Chesterton development?
A. Any future development will undoubtedly have an effect on car parking but we believe we can cater for this increase. However, there is also an opportunity here for us all to change the way we travel, including increased use of public transport, cycling and walking, as well as increasing parking capacity.
Q. Will the decked car park be ugly?
A. We will be aiming to erect a structure that is innovative and sustainable - something the whole town can feel proud of.
Q. Could we have more on-street parking?
A. On-street parking is the responsibility of Gloucestershire Highways (GCC). We continue to ask them to consider the option of providing more. We have asked GCC to undertake a review of on-street parking in Cirencester and our aim is to ensure we maximise the efficiency of both on-street and off-street space.
Q. Are there any plans to improve provision and facilities for cycling?
A. Yes all new or future housing developments will be asked to address this issue.
Q. Will the Council be reviewing car parking charges?
A. Our aim is for car parking to be flexible, fairly priced and available. Car Park charges will be considered as part of the work to consider how we make best use of the car parking that we have.
Q. Can the Council insist that new developments in town should provide adequate parking to avoid adding to the congestion problem?
A. The National Planning Policy Framework and subsequent statements from the government have instructed local authorities to only impose local parking standards for residential and non-residential development where there is ‘clear and compelling justification that it is necessary to manage their local road network.’ With this in mind, the Council has collected evidence to support setting up local parking standards and this will be tested as part of the independent examination of the Local Plan early next year.
Q. Is the Council obliged by law to provide parking?
A. We don’t actually have a statutory duty to provide parking. But the Council fully supports the role of Cirencester as the major economic hub and the largest settlement in the District, and this includes the provision of sufficient parking. Finding a solution to the parking problems in the town is one of our top priorities, and we have appointed a specific Cabinet Member to ensure that we can increase car parking capacity in the town as soon as possible.
Q. What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?
Parking demand project meetings
Although meetings related to the Cirencester Parking Project are not open to the public, notes (from the initial July 2015 meeting onwards) are available in the 'Parking demand project board' section above. Please note that text has been deleted from some notes when there has been a need to protect confidential information relating to specific negotiations with site owners, site purchase and lease negotiations and financial data which cannot yet be made public.