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Brighton and Hove City Council’s £18m parking money-spinner
1:18pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in News
Parking fees in Brighton and Hove raised more than £18 million in the last year.
The money, which came from a mixture of charges, permits and parking tickets, is a rise from the £16.8 million raised in 2009/10.
After costs were deducted, Brighton and Hove City Council made a profit of about £9.5 million.
This is before the inflation-busting rises in tariffs that the Green-led council imposed in April this year.
However local authority bosses defended the figure, saying that the surplus was used to fund concessionary |bus fares, cycle lanes and improving roads.
It admitted that parking was a difficult issue to deal with but bosses said they were committed to trying to reduce congestion in the city centre.
The figure was revealed in the city council’s annual parking |report.
In 2010/11 there was a 5.9% rise in |the number of parking tickets that |were issued – from 109,000 to 116,000.
This is despite the number of civil enforcement officers, more commonly known as wardens, falling in recent years.
Motorists said that the increase in both revenue and tickets issued was a sign that the number of cars on the streets is not dropping.
What the council says
Ian Davey, chairman of the council’s transport committee, said: “I am pleased to note that parking services continue to develop services in an innovative way and in response to public feedback.
“Last year a survey showed that 65% of people wanted to renew their permit online. Online renewals are now available for resident, trader and business permits and sets out the timetable for the online renewal of other permit types.
“As well as representing good customer service this type of initiative also helps to reduce traffic as residents no longer need to travel to the parking information centre at Hove Town Hall.
“The objective to ‘reduce congestion and keep traffic moving’ is also being met through a range of initiatives including the introduction of static CCTV enforcement on key routes into the city such as London Road, Lewes Road and the North Street/ Western Road corridor.
“The number of parking Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) issued in Brighton and Hove increased slightly this year from 109,000 to 116,000.
“This follows six years of falling PCN numbers.”
Coun Davey added profit from parking is spent on providing free bus passes for the elderly and disabled as well as a range of other improvement projects.
A council spokesman said: “Parking controls in Brighton and Hove are essential to keep traffic moving and provide access for residents, visitors and businesses.
“Parts of the city are amongst the most densely populated in the country. The population is estimated to increase to 283,700 by 2026 so pressure on limited parking space will continue to increase.
“Brighton and Hove is also a major tourist destination with eight million visitors annually.
“Parking plays a vital role in support of the city’s tourism strategy and managing the city’s gateways which are the first arrival point for all those coming to enjoy all that Brighton and Hove has to offer.
“Balancing the needs of residents, visitors and businesses is key to sustainable economic growth and success.”
What the businessman says
Stuart Wilkie, spokesman for traders in The Lanes, said: “The question is at what price are businesses losing money so the council can make its 50% profit?
“There’s no level of trader that will get that sort of profit and it comes at a time when businesses are losing trade.
“I do appreciate that the money they raise goes towards good causes and helping the vulnerable get on the bus.
“But maybe in all of this income there is room for some kind of rebate for motorists and city centre users.
“We as traders welcome any form of trade no matter how the person has got here.
“It really doesn’t matter and I’m certainly not pro-car above other forms of transport.
“I think what the traders are looking for is something from the council’s income to balance the needs of the car user with the needs of those using other transport systems.”
What the motorist says
Steve Percy, left, of People’s Parking Protest and a member of the city’s transport partnership, said: “If the number of tickets is going up, the permits are going up and on street income is going up then it appears to me that the number of motor cars is on the rise.
“I always thought we were going through a period where people were turning towards public transport but this seems to say otherwise.
“What bothers me is that the money made from the motorist goes to wider transport projects but I can’t think of any of the spending which favours those in cars.
“It seems to be diverted to cycling and bus projects.”
He added: “Most of those caught driving in bus lanes I imagine would be in North Street or Western Road, I can’t think of anyone that would do it on the A23 or the A259 coast road.
“I’m not surprised either as the city centre is terrible and for anyone who is not familiar with the city it’s quite easy to get into the wrong lane somewhere and end up in a bus lane.”