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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cumbria authorities hit back at parking cash claim

COUNCILS in Cumbria have defended themselves following a motoring charity’s claims that local authorities are wrongly profiteering from car parking charges.

The RAC Foundation said figures showed the vast majority of local authorities in England generate a surplus from their parking activities.

In 2011-12, English councils had a total current account surplus of £565m from their on and off-street parking operations – a £54m increase on the £511m surplus in 2010/11.

South Lakeland District Council had a surplus of £2.4m while Barrow Borough Council had a surplus of £543,000.

David Sykes, SLDC’s director for people and places, hit back saying: “Revenue from the council’s off street car parks plays a vital role in funding local services for residents.

“Councils do not make a ‘profit’, rather the surplus is ploughed back into essential services such as waste collection and recycling, housing, homelessness and street cleansing.”

David Coxen, Lake District National Park Authority operations manager, added: “It’s not left as a surplus, because we do spend our budget each year.

“So the money that would be seen as surplus from car parking is actually re-spent on toilets, the footpaths we maintain, the stiles and bridleways – the range of services we provide throughout the park and the many free sites we offer.”

Cumbria County Council, which had a deficit of £214,000, is responsible for on-street parking and the district authorities are responsible for off-street parking.

A county council spokesman said: “In Cumbria, we don’t charge for permits to park in the areas outside people’s houses, therefore residents can apply to us for a permit.

“But all the administering and delivering of those permits has a cost to it and that’s why you’re seeing Cumbria in this survey running at a loss.”

Keith Parker, head of neighbourhoods at Copeland Borough Council which had a surplus of £200,000, said: “The reason we show a relatively small surplus figure on our off-street parking is due to a change in council policy.

“We used to provide a number of free car parks but, as part of our budget consultation, we said we can no longer afford to continue this way.

“We are either introducing pay and display provision, or seeking to transfer ownership to third parties. Given the financial pressures we are facing, we have to cover the cost of running car parks or dispose of them.”

Have your say

Highway robbery. Just park at Morrison's, Asda or Tesco who can afford free parking and also make a profit anyway. They sell everything you could want so why bother going to the town centre which is a dump. At least the supermarkets care about their surroundings.

Posted by Mike on 5 August 2013 at 07:40

And here was me thinking our council tax covered all these things,, RIPPED OFF ONCE AGAIN.

Posted by Tony on 5 August 2013 at 04:53

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