When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Borough car park strategy brings in more than £1million
BASINGSTOKE and Deane Borough Council made more than £1million from its car parks strategy last year.
Figures from IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists), calculated using data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, show that the borough council made 26 per cent more from its car parks last year (2011-12) than the previous year (2010-11).
But the borough council has said only nine per cent of the increase is a result of income from parking charges.
The rest of the profit has come from reducing costs, including staffing.
In total, councils in England made more than £411million through parking from 2011 to 2012, which is an increase of 14.9 per cent from the 2010-11 figure of £358million.
Basingstoke council profited from a 26 per cent increase, generating £1,180,000 last year – a rise of £244,000 from the 2010-11 figure of £936,000.
Car parks in Hart, which includes Hartley Wintney, Hook and Odiham, generated £369,000 – a rise of 22 per cent on the 2010-11 figure of £302,000.
Last year, The Gazette reported that the council was planning to increase parking fees at The Malls by six per cent, for those parking up to two hours, to help boost its overall income by 2.25 per cent, in line with September’s national rate of inflation.
It also planned to freeze the fees on another 17 council-run car parks to “encourage a thriving town centre economy.”
IAM said the amount spent by councils on road safety, education and routes to schools decreased by 18 per cent, from £127.5million to £105m.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as education for young drivers, cycle training, and safe routes to schools schemes.
“At the same time, cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will simply cost more to fix in the long term.”
Tim Boschi, head of community services at the borough council, said: “The council’s income from parking charges actually increased by nine per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12, although charges only increased by an average of 3.5 per cent.
“However, in addition, the council’s costs reduced over this period, which resulted in the ‘bottom line’ figures quoted. Savings were made by the council through a review of the car parking service and reduced internal charges to the service.”