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In the sleepy Gloucestershire town of Burton-on-the-Water, trouble is brewing between local business owners and a group of wealthy residents who cannot agree over whether or not to allow tourist coaches to continue dropping passengers in their village. As is often the case, the average coach driver is caught in the middle of the disagreement. He is simply doing what is required of the coach operator; it is not his intention to disrupt life in the town or to make living there unbearable.

As reported by the Daily Mail, as many as 3,000 coaches annually bring day-trippers to a village fondly known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. But a group of wealthy residents from a nearby community began complaining to the owner of the car park drivers use because of engine noise. They are apparently unhappy that coach drivers start their engines and allow them to warm up for a time in preparation for the return of their passengers. The residents successfully convinced the owner of the car park to ban coaches from 1 February (2016).

On the other end of the disagreement are local shop owners who say their businesses will be ruined if coaches can no longer bring day trippers to Burton-on-the-Water. One such shop owner told the Daily Mail the coaches have been coming to the village for the better part of 40 years. The local residents behind the complaints are relatively new to the area, their houses having been built only five years ago.

Doing What They Have to Do

The owner of the car park is working with the local council to see if a resolution can be found. He does not want to see business in the village ruined as a result of banning coaches, but he also feels a sense of responsibility to his complaining neighbours. As for the average coach driver, he or she is only doing what has to be done.

Diesel engines require a certain amount of time to warm up before vehicles are driven away. Coach drivers allow their engines to idle while waiting for returning passengers so that those passengers have a warm bus to go back to. Not only that, warming up the engine ahead of time makes it possible for drivers to depart as soon as all passengers are on board. Waiting until passengers arrive to start the engine would mean a certain amount delay before a coach could leave.

We hope that all of the parties involved are able to work out this disagreement. The coach operators rely on the income from day trippers to continue running their businesses while the village of Burton-on-the-Water relies on tourists for a significant portion of the local economy. At the same time, the residents of the car park’s neighbouring community should have the opportunity to enjoy their homes with a reasonable amount of peace and quiet. We do not know what the solution is, but it has to be out there.

Sources:

  1. Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3412903/Wealthy-homeowners-ban-tourist-coaches-Venice-Cotswolds-noisy-engines-toxic-fumes-businesses-warn-trade-killed-without-day-trippers.html

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