Parking reaps £2.4m for Council

Central Car Park, Blackpool.
Central Car Park, Blackpool.
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BLACKPOOL Council has revealed it brought in £2.4m from car parking fees last year.

But the authority today said it was not using parking as a profit-making cash cow and was re-investing the money into improving the borough’s roads.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for streets, said: “We do not view the money the council receives from car parking as a profit.

“It is a surplus which is re-invested to maintain our highways and manage our transport network, essential services and infrastructure.

“Our surplus has increased between 2010/11 and 2011/12 and this money will be reinvested accordingly.

“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.”

The council has been criticised by some for not reducing its car parking charges in order to attract more shoppers and visitors to the town.

Opinion is split on the car parking charges in the resort.

In Bonny Street car park, Blackpool, Howard Walmsley, 62, of Bela Grove, Blackpool, said: “I suppose it’s not too bad considering it’s a seaside town, but the charges jump up if you’re going to stop overnight.

“The car parking is appalling if you’re parking on the streets. Here it’s fairly secure, nice and level.”

Michael Vincent, 31, of Compton Close, Carleton, added: “You can always avoid car parks which charge, so I don’t see the problem.

“When I go down town I just park a bit further along Central Drive, where it’s free.

“I don’t know where the money goes but you think they’d be in a better position than they are in terms of roads and car parks. They need to do something about the volume of traffic though.”

And Chris Wilkinson, 28, of Waltham Avenue, Squires Gate, said: “From the last time I did go into town I remember it being expensive. The traffic and lack of spaces is just madness and it’s easier to go to other places.”

Fylde Council has reported it maintains a constant income of around £480,000 a year from parking charges.

A council spokesman said revenue raised from car parking is invested in a variety of schemes including maintenance.

He added: “One is the maintenance of the car parks themselves and the machinery, as well as the funding of the officers who run the car parks. An element of the money goes into general revenue to fund spending at the council too.”

The Institute of Adavanced Motorists has reported Wyre Council recorded a loss of £276,000 in 2011/12 in its revenue from parking charges.

A spokesman for the authority confirmed this was correct and said: “Less people have been using our car parks.

“As well as austerity measures by motorists, the tramway works in Fleetwood when Lord Street was blocked off will not have helped, along with the introduction of free parking on the Booths section of the Windsor Road car park in Garstang.”

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