A toxic combination of soaring pay and display charges, fewer and smaller spaces and the disappearance of free parking is leaving motorists with major headaches and lighter pockets.
An RAC survey of more than 1,500 drivers across the country revealed 80 per cent of people believe parking charges in towns and cities are on the rise.
Meanwhile, two thirds of drivers believe there is now less parking close to their town or city centre and that parking restrictions have become more stringent where they live.
And 65 per cent of motorists reported that even when they finally find a space to park it’s too small for today’s breed of cars.
However, the majority of councils in Gloucestershire which are responsible for parking do not necessarily agree with the findings of the survey.
Brian Robinson, deputy leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said: “We’ve listened to the concerns of residents and local traders who felt that shoppers had limited time to browse in the towns and as a result we decided to reduce the parking charges for up to two hours to 20p and the cost of an annual permit to £120.”
Cheltenham Borough Council has not raised car park fees since March 2010 but it will lose spaces when the redevelopment of the town’s North Place car park begins.
Yvonne Hope, head of public protection at the authority, said: “During the redevelopment of North Place there will be a reduction in spaces but these users will be redirected to other town centre car parks, such as Town Centre East."
Some of the councils believe the RAC findings do not apply to their area.
Tewkesbury Borough Council’s asset manager Andy Noble, said: “Contrary to the RAC’s report, our long stay car park charges haven’t increased in the past eight years, and our short stay car park charges have stayed the same since 2010.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Stroud District Council said: “Our parking charges have not risen for quite a few years and we have recently taken over management of a multi-storey car park in Stroud with a view to improving it to support local shops.”
Gloucester City Council could not be reached for comment.
However, John Gough, a driving instructor in Gloucester with more than 50 years’ experience, was damning of the city’s parking situation.
“I really think Gloucester is dying because of the cost of parking and yes, you do have to go around the block a few times to find a space,” he said.
Cotswold District Council has not increased charges since 2010.
Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for all on street parking and Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: "The findings in this report are not a true reflection of the parking reality in Gloucestershire.
“The county council regularly review on-street parking with a view to increase parking space not take it away.
“Gloucestershire County Council has a duty to taxpayers to make the best use of its resources. There hasn’t been an increase in parking charges since 2005 and money made through on-street parking is ploughed back into improving our roads.”