Parking revenue in Blackpool has increased by more than a quarter of a million pounds, new figures released today show.
The latest figures, up until the middle of December, show the number of people using car parks in the resort is up by 107,258, compared to 2013/14, with income up by £263,555.
While the numbers using on-street parking meters has decreased by 9,622, income is up by £25,103, which the council says is because people are parking for longer.
Town hall chiefs say the increases reflect the rise in visitor numbers which increased to 10.1 million in 2014, compared to 9.8 million in 2013, and is not a result of any increase in charges.
However, the revenue is still £712,000 down on the target set for the budget.
Coun John Jones, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re extremely pleased with how our car parks are performing.
“The improvement on last year, we believe, is largely down to the fantastic summer we’ve had.
“Driven by the ‘Blackpool’s Back’ marketing campaign, a packed season of events and, of course, the full summer run of Mamma Mia! which brought thousands of extra visitors to the resort, we’ve seen significant improvements in the number of visitors.
“That has had a very positive knock on effect on car parking numbers.
“Ultimately, all of the revenue received is invested back into local services and that is great news for the town.”
The council which is facing massive budget cuts as a result of Government savings targets, said there were no plans to increase parking charges.
Coun Jones added: “This year we are not increasing the charges. The increase in revenue is not because we have put car parking charges up but because more people were coming to Blackpool and using council car parks.”
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool council, said: “We had a glorious summer and I welcome any increase in numbers to the town but I don’t think the numbers shown actually correspond with a percentage of the numbers of extra visitors the council claim in their other recent report.
“What you have to consider is the council has fallen disastrously short of their own budgeted and expected revenue from car parking.
“The increase doesn’t hit target nor will it cover the amount of money the council keeps spending on car parks.
“If the council is saying that targets were set incorrectly then that’s a serious misjudgment and a excuse for their failure.”
Total parking revenue for the year currently stands at just over £4.8m.
Blackpool Council operates 20 public car parks at Banks Street, Bloomfield Road, Bolton Street, Bonny Street, Central, Chapel Street, Cocker Street, Cocker Square, East Topping Street, Foxhall Village, Gynn Square, Lonsdale Road, Lytham Road, Queen Street, Seasiders Way, South, South Beach, South King Street, Talbot Road multi-storey, and West Street.
Charges range from £1.50 for up to three hours at Gynn Square and Banks Street, to £13 for 24 hours and £30 for up to a week.
On-street parking charges are: town centre, 50p for 30 minutes, £1 for an hour, £1.50 for 90 minutes; Promenade, £1.50 for 90 minutes, £5 for three hours, £7.50 for 12 hours.