Advertisement

Hundreds protest against new Cirencester Park entry passes

Hundreds of people have gathered at a popular park estate to protest against a new charging system.

Local people will have to pay a £10 deposit to use Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire and non-residents will be charged £30 annually.

The move is the first time in 326 years an entry pass has been introduced for the Grade I park in the Cotswolds.

Lord Bathurst, who owns the historic 3,000 acre park, said the money would fund maintenance works.

He added that more than 4,000 people signed up for the passes on Wednesday.

The new system, which launched on Friday, has divided locals and visitors and a mass walk against the changes took place on Sunday.

General view of the mass walk in Cirencester Park
The mass walk in Cirencester Park
Jamie Campbell
Jamie Campbell said the charge is 'appalling'

Some local residents argue the entry passes restricts their freedom to walk in the countryside.

'Outrageous'

Jamie Campbell, who lives and works in Cirencester, told the BBC he uses the park regularly.

He said: "We have this gateway into the countryside in Cirencester.

"Yes the estate own the land, but to block off and charge people to use the countryside is appalling."

Councillor Naomi Campbell
Councillor Naomi Bloomer says £10 is a lot of money for some people

Cirencester town councillor Naomi Bloomer, 33, said: "The fact they are claiming they are using this money for conservation purposes, for rewilding purposes, is ridiculous.

"£10 for me can be meals for four or five days. I have two kids and my husband, we have got to feed ourselves somehow - £10 to them it is nothing but to me is quite a value."

Molly Fletcher, from Wokingham in Berkshire, said: "We need people to have more access to green spaces, not less.

"We need people to be more connected with nature and with the natural world so they can realise that we are part of that natural world, and we can act to protect it."

'£10 isn't much'

Lord Bathurst
Lord Bathurst said the costs for maintenance of the estate has risen

Lord Bathurst told the BBC: "Our point is that the park remains open to the people of Cirencester for a £10 deposit for the foreseeable future. They will still be able to get access into the park.

"£10 is not a lot of money by any standards and it is refundable. If you don't want to use the park, fine."

Lord Bathurst previously said that the costs of maintenance have risen, and the restoration work that they are doing for conservation "all builds up".

What are the charges?

Residents in GL7 postcodes will pay a £10 deposit per household - up to six people can use that pass either as a family, or that pass can be used by an individual.

The community passes will also work in the villages of Edgworth, Frampton Mansell, Ashton Keynes and Latton.

Lord Bathurst said that if residents move away from the area, their deposit will be returned.

If you are from outside that area it is £4 for an adult, £2 for a child or between £6 and £10 for a family. Annual passes ranging in cost for £10 for a student up to £50 for a household are also available.

The passes can be used to gain access to Cirencester Park at four automated pedestrian gates: Cecily Hill, Windsor Walk, Barton Lane and by Cirencester Park Caravan and Motorhome Club.


Follow BBC Somerset on Facebook and, X. Send your story ideas to us on email or via WhatsApp on 0800 313 4630.