TRAFFIC congestion near the canal in Slimbridge could be eased with the parish council putting forward plans to build a car park in Shepherds Patch.

For decades Slimbridge Parish Council has been asked to consider improving parking facilities in the area but has been unable to acquire the land to do so.

However it has now been informed by Berkeley Estate of the imminent availability of a field off Kingston Road, which it would allow a car park to be built on.

The field just east of the Black Shed becomes available for a lease renewal next month and the parish council has been working on plans for a 70-space car park there.

As part of its work, which started more than six months ago, the council hosted a public consultation event on Monday to gauge opinion on the scheme.

Council chairman Phil Garrett said: “We have been working on a proposal ever since Berkeley Estate came forward to let us know the field was available.

“We have spoken to Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire highways to get to the stage where we are at the moment.”

After approaching Stroud District Council’s planning department, it was recommended to scale back its plan to between 20 and 30 places plus bicycle parking.

As a result, the council reduced its proposed provision to 37 spaces with additional room for motorbike and bicycle parking.

The proposal was welcomed by the owners of the Tudor Arms pub, which is opposite the earmarked site, although they felt a car park was only necessary should double yellow lines be painted in the road as part of Canal and River Trust plans to automate the canal bridge.

Ian Hamilton, along with fellow residents of Shepherds Patch, felt that the scheme was the wrong way to tackle the problem.

“The problem with building such a big car park is that you would be encouraging even more people to come to the area and park,” he said.

“If instead it was made possible to park at the side of the road it would move the cars there at the moment out of the road, which would be a better solution.”