Wealden District Council loses £440,000 on parking

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Wealden District Council made a loss of more than £440,000 on parking activities during 2014/15.

Figures released by Department for Communities and Local Government show Wealden as just one of 57 local authorities in England to see a negative parking operations revenue outturn.

Wealden District Council saw a loss of £441,000 on parking activities during 2014/15, ranking it 347th out of 353 local authorities for surplus. The figure compared to a loss of £328,000 in 2013/14.

East Sussex County Council saw a surplus of £622, compared to just over £1 million in 2013/14.

Lewes District Council recorded a surplus of £350,000 in 2014/15, compared to £315,000 in 2013/14, while Eastbourne Borough Council saw surplus of £274,000 - just £2,000 more than in 2013/14.

The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs, and this year’s profits have come from increased income, rather than reduced costs.

Overall, councils in England saw a record total ‘profit’ of £693 million from their day-to-day, on and off street parking operations, and is a 4 per cent increase on the 2013/14 amount of £667 million.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. And once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards.

“It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are most congested and the pressure on road space immense.

“The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic. But with local government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fund-raiser must be intense.

“When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.

“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the High Street parking meter.”

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