DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles criticises council over Christmas market parking fines

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles claimed 'whole rows' of drivers were fined in Cirencester on the weekend Credit: PA

TV presenter Nick Knowles has criticised a council in Gloucestershire after shoppers received parking fines while attending a Christmas market in Cirencester.

The DIY SOS host slammed Gloucestershire County Council on Sunday (27 November) after drivers who attended the event were fined for parking on single yellow lines.

The 60-year-old accused the council's parking wardens of unfairly punishing people visiting Cirencester, as the town's car parks were full.

In a tweet, Nick said: "Congrats ⁦Cirencester⁩ & Gloucester cnclls [sic].

"You hold an Xmas fayre to get shoppers into town and when they do and car parks are full you ticket everyone parked on a single yellow on a Sunday - whole rows of them.

"Hell of a way to support local businesses by driving people away," he added.

Nick's tweet has drawn support from some, who said councils should be encouraging as many people as possible to support local businesses.

One commentator said: "My wife is a traffic warden, [in] the towns where she patrols that have a Christmas market they are advised not to ticket unless parked dangerously.

"Seems some areas aren't as sensible."

Kevin Buck added: "This is exactly what puts many off going into town or city centres. Overly complex parking controls and restrictions or high charges. Then we wonder why many use Amazon."

But many also disagreed with Nick's argument.

Fellow television presenter and cycling campaigner Jeremy Vine praised the council, saying the fines were "excellent work".

"Children on foot are the priority, not adults wedging large metal cages into places they don't fit," he said.

Cotswold District Council leader Joe Harris responded to the criticism, saying: "No one is being penalised for visiting the town - parking is free in all Cirencester car parks on Sundays.

"This is a ticket for breaking an on-street parking regulation such as yellow lines, no return within one hour etc."

But Nick argued Gloucestershire County Council was "profiteering on a Sunday at the expense of shoppers as there were no spaces in the car parks".

He said he was not fined himself but was outraged on behalf of the owners of the "15 cars ticketed".

Nick said he felt it was an example of the "council working against high street shops".

"That’s why our high streets are dying and that’s why councils need to think seriously about supporting and encouraging visitors to towns and villages - especially where public transport isn’t a useable option," he wrote.

He also pointed out that some people cannot walk to Cirencester Christmas Market as they live in villages and need to drive to other towns.

'It is our job to keep visitors safe, especially during busy periods'

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council told ITV News West Country: "We love welcoming visitors into our towns and it’s our job to keep them safe on our roads, especially during busy periods of high traffic.

“Parking restrictions help us to make sure that appropriate visibility is maintained for all road users as well as access for local businesses, blue badge holders and emergency service vehicles.

“It is not permitted to park or wait on a single yellow line while restrictions apply and anyone caught doing so will receive a penalty charge notice.”