Town hall pledge in £3.5m car park boost

Coun John Jones (below) says the �3.5m made from parking charges in Blackpool in 2011/12 has been reinvested in transport and infrastructure.

Coun John Jones (below) says the �3.5m made from parking charges in Blackpool in 2011/12 has been reinvested in transport and infrastructure.

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More than £3.5m was made from parking charges in Blackpool in last year – a £500,000 rise on the year before.

But council chiefs today insisted the money, made during the 2011/12 financial year from charges on council-owned car parks, is being reinvested and means cuts to other essential public services can be avoided.

Coun John Jones

Coun John Jones

The figures have been released by the RAC Foundation, and shows Blackpool Council made the 36th highest profit on parking charges of any local authority in the country.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport at Blackpool Council, said: “We do not view the money the council receives from either car parking or parking fines as a profit.

“The charges are necessary tools to manage our highways network and the surplus is re-invested to maintain our highways, essential services and infrastructure.

“It is important to recognise that, given the freeze on council tax increases and the cuts in our central Government funding allocation, if we did not have a surplus then larger cuts to essential services would be necessary.”

By comparison, Fylde council made a surplus of £261,000 over the same time period.

Coun Karen Buckley, Fylde Council cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Our car-parks compete with companies such as NCP and there are no statutory limits to the amount we can charge.

“However, out of consideration for our residents and visitors, our off-street charges have been the same for three years now.

“We are a tourist area and have hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and mostly they pay to park. Without car-parking charges we would have to add approximately £7 to every council tax bill at a time when residents are already facing increases in utility bills.”

Wyre Council made a £388,000 surplus on its parking charge in 2011/12 - but the council made a net loss of £276,000 once capital costs are deducted.

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