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West Berkshire Council makes £1.5million in parking profits

Figures reveal record surplus through parking charges, fines and permits

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Contact:

01635 886639

car parking

WEST Berkshire Council made almost £1.5m through parking charges, fines and permits in the last financial year.

Recent figures reveal the local authority ended 2015-16 with record profits of £1,497,830 from its parking operations – £237,000 more than the previous year’s total of £1,260,043.

The surplus includes funds generated from all parking activities including off-street and on-street ticket sales, penalty charge notices (PCNs) and permits, minus expenditure.

The figures show that parking profits have continued to rise for the fifth year in a row, despite a continued increase in spending.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, West Berkshire Council brought in £1,969,542 from car park ticket sales and a further £130,636 from on-street ticket sales.

A total of £236,110 was paid to the council in parking fines while £46,277 was paid in Bus Lane PCNs.

Along with other miscellaneous income streams, the council took in a total of £3,049,776 during the financial year.

However, West Berkshire Council spent a total of £1,551,946 on running its parking operations, an increase from £1,492,626 in 2014/15.

Legally, any surplus from parking revenue must be reinvested in transport and environment projects.

Parking charges in council-run car parks in Newbury, Thatcham, Pangbourne, and Theale all increased last year, while the Sunday charges in Newbury car parks – previously a flat rate – were scrapped and replaced with the higher weekday tariff.

Charges are set to rise again next year as part of the council’s 2017/18 budget proposals.

West Berkshire Council spokesperson Peta Stoddart Compton said: “A High Court ruling in July 2013 stated that a council may lawfully spend surplus parking income on a broad range of functions including traffic schemes, pedestrian crossings, school crossings, speed limits, bollards, traffic wardens and different types of parking facilities.

“West Berkshire Council’s surplus parking income is used in full accord with that ruling.”

Meanwhile, local councils across the country have seen the collective surplus rise to more than three quarters of a billion pounds.

In the 2015-16 financial year the 353 local authorities in England generated a combined profit of £756m from their on-street and off-street parking activities.

This is a nine per cent leap on the 2014-15 figure of £693m, and 34 per cent higher than in 2011-12.

Speaking about the national figures, director of the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, said: “These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.

“In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads, today there are 30.7 million. 

“Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.

“The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there’s no shortage of work that needs doing.”

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Article comments

  • jeremyThatcham

    19/01/2017 - 13:01

    So why are only half the lights in Thatcham's Council run Waitrose/Kingsland car park working?

    Reply

  • Funnybones

    19/01/2017 - 08:08

    Take a leaf out of Abingdon's book and use their system of first two hours free. Much more shopper/visitor friendly. You have to put in your vehicle registration at the machines before getting your ticket. Come on West Berks, stop this extra tax!!

    Reply

  • rooter

    18/01/2017 - 12:12

    yet they cut vital services which cost peanuts in comparison such as lollipop patrols etc claiming that they can not afford them??!! I can't remember the last time i paid for parking in town, i use the free 30 mins on bart street, or walk from further. I am not lining their pockets any further. And they forced Parkway to increase their charges too to bring them inline with each other..

    Reply

  • grumpy

    18/01/2017 - 12:12

    So, they have nearly spent as much as they made, why not make parking cheap for everyone, and then they wouldn't have to spend much, just a bit on maintenance. That way, more people would come into town, benefitting shops .. etc :-)

    Reply

    • GlassHalfFull

      18/01/2017 - 22:10

      That depends on what you mean by "made". According to the figures reported, their revenue was about £3m and their costs were about £1.5m. So their profit was about £1.5m as the headline states. Are you suggesting that they lower the car parking costs in order to break even (bear in mind that nearly £300k of that profit came from fines)? If they do that then they will have no surplus to spend on the other things mentioned ("pedestrian crossings, school crossings, speed limits, bollards, traffic wardens" etc). Money for those things would then need to come from somewhere else - most likely more cuts. I'm not defending them, but it looks like there's more to it than just saying reduce the parking fees.

      Reply

      • grumpy

        19/01/2017 - 09:09

        ok, I read the article wrong, but I still think they could make parking a bit cheaper :-)

        Reply

        • EugeneStryker

          19/01/2017 - 10:10

          I don't get it! The RAC estimate that on average it costs £557 per month run a car and if you're shopping in town you have some disposable income, it is hardly the few quid on parking that will stop people coming into town, so why advocate driving down the council's ability to create some revenue. Added to that, beyond anecdote, there is very little published evidence that links changes in parking charges with changes in town centre footfall. What we should remember that spend on 'transport-related' does not necessarily mean it has to be skewed towards the motorist. What there is evidence for, and plenty of it, is that installing good sustainable transport infrastructure has the best impact for shops and restaurants. If people felt safe cycling (people don't feel safe - there is evidence for that too) they could park their bikes for free and would open town up to everyone instead of just people that can afford to run cars and shop in town.

          Reply

        • grumpy

          19/01/2017 - 10:10

          This is nonsense, no way does it cost £557 to run a car, and as for public transport - pah, what a waste of time.

          Reply

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