Monday, 23 December 2013

Parking in East Devon: where and how much... continued

Following on from 
Futures Forum: Parking in East Devon: where and how much... part two
the Sidmouth Independent News blog reports:

Council profits from car parking charges

23 December
Councils in Devon and Cornwall generated a combined ‘profit’ of £24.4 million from their day-to-day, on and off-street parking operations in 2012-13, according to figures from the RAC Foundation. This was an increase on the £24.26 million collected in 2011-12 and follows on from above-£20 million hauls in the previous two financial years.  Full story HERE
Which makes it all the more interesting that the following Freedom of Information  request  about how much profit EDDC has made from parking charges so far remains unanswered:
Bear in mind that ALL profits from car parking charges are meant to be ploughed back into transport-related improvements in the district.
Council profits from car parking charges | Sidmouth Independent News

Devon Councils making millions from car parking

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 23, 2013

“The Government’s recent decision to consult on changes to parking rules and regulations is timely and we have always argued that at the very least all councils should publish an annual parking report to explain how much money is collected from drivers and, just as importantly, where that cash is going."

Devon Councils making millions from car parking | Exeter Express and Echo

Similar concerns are being expressed across the country as similar are released:

Pay and dismay: Anger as Bradford car park charges profits set to double to £5.3 million

2nd August 2013


Is the Council raking in too much money from parking charges and fines?
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Blue bar used for ballot results 79%
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Yellow bar used for ballot results 21%
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Mike Cartwright, of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “Where is that increase in income coming from? Is it higher charges or better identification and tracing of offenders? Or both? Rightly or wrongly, parking charges are still widely viewed as a cash cow for Councils but we know it’s more complicated than that.
“We feel that all income should be re-directed back into parking and transport generally to improve services and facilities wherever possible. Transport and congestion remain serious concerns for many of our businesses and, while income from parking charges is not going to solve the problem, it’s a related issue.
“We’re frequently told of broken or out-of-use ticket machines – several on the same street, sometimes – and that grates with people and can lead to the view that the income isn’t ring-fenced.”
Pay and dismay: Anger as Bradford car park charges profits set to double to £5.3 million (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

Again, it seems to be the expensive high street vs free parking at shopping centres:

Council makes £16 million profit from parking charges in three years

1 August 2013

The local authority said all the money generated was ploughed back into improving facilities

Katie Teasdale, director of policy at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, said the council had to be wary of harming trade by driving shoppers into the arms of out-of-town malls offering free parking.
“We understand there are huge pressures on council budgets and that they are looking at making money where they can,” she said.
“Equally, higher car parking costs discourage people from coming in to the city."

It is clear, however, that Councillors need to put together a 'transport policy' beyond simply making it 'easier' for people to park:

Brighton and Hove pockets £16 million in parking charges - the most outside London

Ben James 23rd December 2013

Green councillor Ian Davey, the council's lead member for transport, said: “The council does not make a profit from parking, nor do we set out to make a surplus. Our policy on parking is reflected in our sustainable transport programme which aims to tackle poor air quality, keep the city moving, manage parking availability and improve road safety.”

And the Commons Transport Committee makes the point that parking charges is not about 'raising revenue' but helping the economy:

Local Authority Parking Enforcement

Seventh Report of Session 2013-14

The use of parking charges and fines specifically to raise revenue by local authorities is neither acceptable nor legal. 

Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this come from on or off street parking charges. It's right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding. 

While businesses cannot be completely exempt from parking restrictions, local authorities must also ensure that the need to restrict parking and manage congestion does not stifle the ability of businesses to trade and help grow the economy.

Local Authority Parking Enforcement: Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Vol ... - Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Transport Committee - Google Books


Skye Evans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skye Evans said...

Parking prices should be reasonable. So, every person can easily park a car.
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