More than £3.2m was made in profit at Blackpool Council’s car parks, and the figure is set to rise again this year.
It follows a recent parking services performance report by the council, which showed it made an income of £5,088,731 in 2017/18, a five per cent increase from the year before, despite having more than 56,000 fewer cars parking up.
The Gazette has analysed the report to find out which car parks have been making the council the most money.
Overall, the 24 car parks under Blackpool Council’s remit were used 1,012,771 times.
Central Car Park was the most popular, but had 313,109 users last year, down from 338,654 in the previous year.
Despite the downturn in users, it made an income of £1,777, 327, a two per cent increase.
Tower Street Car Park was the second most frequented car park in the resort, with 162,597 users bringing in an income of £350,227.
West Street Multi-Storey made an income of £512,189 for the council, from 104,957 patrons.
Another notable figure from the report was from Bloomfield Road car park.
In 2016/17 it had 14,543 users and generated an income of £10,562.
A year later, despite having nearly 4,000 fewer users, it made an income of more than £65,000, a staggering 524 per cent increase.
These figures follow parking charge rises last year, which increased by up to 65 per cent.
The council also installed new machines at 11 of its car parks and introduced two new car parks, at Wimbourne Place, and Bethesda Square.
Wimbourne Place saw 4,910 users and Bethesda Square gained 6,310.
Despite the increase in prices, Philip Welsh, head of tourism and communications at Blackpool Council ruled out the parking fees being a factor in the increased income.
He said: “There has been no increase in tariffs at the start of this financial year, but if you look at the revenue growth in the financial year to date from April to August, revenue is about £100,000 ahead of last year, so it is not tariff driven.”
He also said the figures don’t include any free car parking, such as the Christmas promotion offered last year.
He said: “When there is free parking, there is no ticket issued so it is impossible to count users so there will be a chunk of the downturn in patronage in December.”People took to social media to comment about the figures following The Gazette’s story last week.
The council is still deciding if it will be offering its free car parking offer for the busy Christmas period.
Alan Clark thinks lower fees could attract more businesses to the town.
He said: “Just think they could drastically lower parking charges and make even more money with more people coming, then as town is busier more shops open up.
Neil Martin believes the town centre is suffering due to the higher costs for parking in town.
He said: “People prefer to put the money towards fuel and go somewhere decent to shop.
“Car park prices here are disgusting and the figures above show that.”
Andy Mason thinks there is nothing wrong with the council making money.
He said: “You can’t blame the council for making money.
“If you want to blame anyone then look at the current government for the cuts they have made.”
Donna Maria Davidson wants the town centre to improve before using its car parks.
She said: “Very few decent shops left in Blackpool and too many aggressive beggars on the streets.
“It’s just not pleasant and not worth the car park charges.”
Dan Keaveney said: “I always use side streets when going to Blackpool.
“Why would you use a car park?”
The figures do not include privately owned and operated car parks, like the Houndshill Multi-Storey.
There are 22 council-owned car parks, as well as two car parks which are operated by the council but are privately owned.
There are approximately 5,280 parking spaces, of which 96 are for coaches, four for motorhomes, with the remainder for cars.
A number of the car parks have motorcycle spaces, with 90 in total.
As well as off street parking, there are approximately 900 pay and display on street parking bays, such as those on Albert Road and Topping Street.