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Huge shortfall in parking
Parking charge hikes have left a £700,000 “black hole” in a council’s budget.
Brighton and Hove City Council believed its inflation- busting changes to tariffs introduced in April would raise an extra £1.3 million a year.
However, latest predictions show there is a sixfigure shortfall in pay and display income for the current financial year.
The local authority blames the loss of income on the bad weather throughout the summer months.
It added other revenue, such as resident permits and from car parks, was doing better than expected and it hoped to even out the situation by the end of the financial year.
But critics say it is a sign that the current system, which sees people pay up to £3.50 for an hour and up to £20 for a day on the seafront, needs to be looked at again.
Motoring lobbyist Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said: “It has just not worked.
“I’m convinced that parking prices are responsible for most of the loss of income for traders in the city.”
It comes just days after the local authority said the earliest it would reintroduce a 3 0 - m i nu t e parking band in the city would be April – despite it c o s t i n g motorists up to £3.50 for an hour, the current shortest period.
Conservative councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “The Greens’ parking charges are delivering a double-whammy.
“Not only are they putting people off coming to the city to spend their money but we now learn that they have left a massive black hole in the council’s budget. I repeat my call to the Green administration to reverse their massive parking charge hikes before they do any more damage to the city.”
Labour councillor Gill Mitchell said: “The Greens can no longer blame the weather.
“There needs to be more sophistication to the system and an urgent r e v i ew should look at reintroducing the 20-minute tariff.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The shortfall coincides with colder and wetter weather in the first four months of this financial year.
“Other south coast towns are reporting a similar picture, with the weather identified as a key factor. A switch away from cars to bus and cycle use may also be a factor.
“The shortfall is largely offset by higher than expected income from offstreet car parks, such as The Lanes and London Road which people have been encouraged to use, parking permits, and reduced costs.
“Overall parking budgets are reporting a shortfall of £307,000.
“The position with