Staff and public could face parking charges at Norfolk County Council’s headquarters

Should council staff pay to park at County Hall? Should council staff pay to park at County Hall?

Monday, July 28, 2014
11:50 AM

Staff could be forced to pay to park at Norfolk County Council’s headquarters, while council bosses said it was too early to say whether the public may also face charges.

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"A common theme was that, having had an 18% pay cut in real terms since 2010, to charge for parking would be rubbing salt in the wound."

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk County Council branch secretary for Unison.

The council is reviewing parking at County Hall, with traffic surveys at the Martineau Lane site taking place over the past two weeks.

But staff have been told the review will almost certainly bring an end to the free parking they currently enjoy – with bosses saying increased pressure on the parking spaces available means a solution must be found.

A council spokesman said: “We are working on the assumption that the solution will include charging staff for parking, but it’s too early to know any other details around charging at this stage.

“Other likely outcomes of the review will be more flexible working options, such as better use of technology through the council’s Digital Norfolk Ambition project, and more showers being installed to encourage cycling and walking.”

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county secretary for UNISON.Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county secretary for UNISON.

The traffic surveys at County Hall have been checking how people get onto the site – whether by car, bus, bike or on foot.

A spokesman said: “We will use the information from the survey and other data on car park use and feedback from staff to inform the proposals.

“We currently have 830 spaces at County Hall, for 2,240 staff. We know that more than 1,000 additional staff will be based at County Hall as we make savings by rationalising other office accommodation in Norwich.”

The council said it was too early to say how charging for parking would work.

A spokesman also said they could not say whether members of the public visiting County Hall, or county councillors attending meetings, would also be expected to pay if parking charges were introduced.

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk County Council branch secretary for Unison, said a staff survey carried out by the trade union had found 73% of staff were against the principle of charging for parking.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital charges staff to park at its Colney site, with the amount they pay dependent upon their salaries.

• Do you think council staff should pay to park at County Hall? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

27 comments

  • Ofr course they should pay for car parking BUT what on earth are 2,200 plus people doing there? Add on all the people 'employed' by the District Councils and the fat cat allowances voted themselves by councillors then just how much of our Council Taxes go on salaries and wages? Any problem about parking on nearby roads must bring more joy (money) for the Council when the yellow lines go down on surounding roads in conjunction with resident parking permits and traffic wardens dishing out tickets.......or maybe we can have ticket machines installed? No excuses for anyone such as needing car for 'business' that day...all should use a pool car like private firms.''''''the council is taking the mickey out of taxpayers - oh, I forgot, who messed upon the incinerator and when are they going to reimburse the taxpayers? Best answer gets an Oscar!

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    gaz9185

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • To follow on from Rob Whittles comment, Free parking is being used as a sweetener and attraction. Staff should be charged according to their impact and haviong to maintain a carpark costs, why should taxpayers come up with this maintenance to enable free parking for public servants, I use the term carefully as service is not a given. Parking in Norfolk needs shaking up, it distorts business and is detrimental to inner city businesses. We need a Norfolk wide parking fee that is levied everywhere, incl. out of town supermarkets who are distorting the competition with this 'come on'. I cannot understand the Unions case for lower paid cleaners, because it is up to the union to change their pay structure to the better, they are responsible and feeble when it comes to industrial relations with our tax suckers, not us. If NORSE needs shaking up, finally, then how about it Mr. Dunning?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • The usual jealous & let's rubbish public employees brigade on here. God help us all when they have all gone and are totally replaced by useless companies such as G4S, Serco etc. The old joke of it took 4 council workers to fill one hole in the road is true but at least it stayed filled rather than the botched DIY private companies that do it nowadays and then have to come back to redo it a week later, which is poor value and a waste of our money.

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    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • I tend to agree with staff charging. Other city workers have to normally choose between P+R, buses, cycling. County Hall car park security, cleaning, maintenance, lighting is passed on to the council tax payer. Also it would encourage car share, sustainable transport, fitness and helps the County Councils Carbon reduction, traffic congestion and pollution strategies. Contractually employees should be warned about displacing their cars locally, if parked locally on the highway. I,d also suggest that after the last decade of underperformancenon delivery of the residual waste team based at county hall, they cut all these posts, so reducing the need for further council car parking. Council meetings for councillors should be held at 7pm, rather than 10am, so to off peak car parking needs, and to allow greater numbers of the working public to attend. The problem is councillors do much of their work without substantial public interaction, effectively time excluding much of the 9-5 public out from important decisions. In terms of staff required to use their cars in order to undertake work, mileage, flexible rebates should be given that workers claim for on a day to day basis, ie GPS tracking.

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    Rob Whittle

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • Nigel S, I suggest you look at councillor expense claims you will see they can claim not only parking fees, if paid, but also mileage from home to any place they attend in their official capacity. Prior to retiring in 2008 I worked at the hospital a parking permit was, if memory serves, about £60 per year. Didnt matter if you were a cleaner on minimum wage or a highly paid doctor or admimistrator! The days of free parking for all but factory or local go.vernment employees are long past. I repeat, as a pensioner on low income, I have no ob.jection to paying to park, use a public toilet or indeed pay higher council tax if doing so ensures we keep essential public services. We have all been be.trayed by inco.mpetent NCC offi.cers and members looking after their own, and their friends, interests and we will all pay the price for that be.trayal.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Nigel S, I suggest you look at councillor expence claims you will see they can claim not only parking fees, if paid, but also mileage from home to any place they attend in their official capacity. Prior to retiring in 2008 I worked at the hospital a parking permit was, if memory serves, about £60 per year. Didnt matter if you were a cleaner on minimum wage or a highly paid doctor or admimistrator! The days of free parking for all but factory or local government employees are long past. I repeat, as a pensioner on low income, I have no objection to paying to park, use a public toilet or indeed pay higher council tax if doing so ensures we keep essential public services. We have all been be.trayed by incompetent NCC officers and members looking after their own, and their friends, interests and we will all pay the price for that be.trayal.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Once again, the Norfolk public shows how little it knows about the real stories behind these headlines. Firstly, many public sector staff, including those at NCC, are sitting somewhere around the minimum wage. Are there people earning £150k? Yes, but they're certainly not drivers, cleaners, librarians, security staff, road workers etc. Secondly, to put a different light on this story - in the twelve months up to Feb 2014 NCC councilors claimed just under £90k (of public money...) in travel and parking expenses. It will be interesting to see if, as part of these proposals, this practice will either be ended, OR extended to all staff. Level playing field? Hardly.

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    Metalhead

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • It is true you can't claim expenses for traveling to your place of work and for the parking under the tax rules. But if your designated place of work is elsewhere and you travel to county hall for a meeting it would be.

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    Tony

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Nigel S - You are obviously a public sector worker. You ought to try the private sector which in general gets paid significantly less than the public sector for comparable jobs. Also the terms and conditions of employment in the public sector are far more generous than the private sector. Tell anyone in the private sector about your entitlement to sick leave and they will look at you with disbelief. Its not dragging anyone down as you put it, working in the private sector should be exactly as the public sector but that is not going to happen as employers run their businesses for profit, not at a loss as happens in the public sector because of archaic work practices.

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    BG

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Nigel, survey after survey from reputable sources and also the government acknowledge that public employees receive higher pay for comparable jobs compared to the private sector. Fact - get over it. Thinking that private sector employees are the lowest common denominator perhaps says much about you. If you say that free parking is a form of remuneration then report this to HMRC as it is then a taxable benefit! If it is part of the contract of employment (which I doubt) then it is definitely a taxable benefit, even more so when it is car parking offsite as happens now!!!

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    andy

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Let me explain something to a few people on here: You cannot claim for (legitimate business - therefore payment free from deduction of PAYE or NI)expenses the cost of parking your car as a result of traveling to or from work. This is the same for all employers. there will be no exception for NCC or any government department (including HMRC). The loss of free car parking (as has happened at my employer - due to relocation) does have a dramatic effect on the use of car parking for business, as this is a legitimate expense born by the employer. Free car parking is a form of remuneration and it removal is therefore a reduction in what is received under the terms of the contract of employment, as are pension schemes. The removal of remuneration is effectively a pay cut. Go ahead and believe that public sector workers are paid more than private if you want, I have seen little evidence of this. Why oh why if there is a difference do we want to drag everyone down to the lowest denominator rather than expecting our employer to give us more? just what the government wants - the old divide and conquer.

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    NigelS

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Get rid of the "Council Employees only" spaces at St Swithins car park as well.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Hopefully this will include the Councillors.

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    Norfolkman

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • They can use Postwick P&R keep it viable.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Hospital staff have to pay for parking their cars at their place of work so why shouldn't` staff employed by NCC have to do the same. Why have they been the exception. After all, we have been paying for the maintenance and daily management of the car park ever since it was built. Councils have been taking the motorist for a ride for years, so why don`t they have some of their own medicine for once.

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    BG

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • it's common knowledge that the Martineau Lane and Bracondale are at maximum capacity as regards to traffic and it's also common knowledge that there are plans for thousands of houses in Trowse. Keeping the staff and the public's traffic away from the area will help give these schemes the green light, won't they?

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    Vic Sponge

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Excellent news – why should these public servants get free parking when they and their colleagues at City Hall are making it as difficult and as expensive as they can to park in the city.

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    Norfolk John

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • If County Hall staff are still entitled to free parking there "across the board", I can only say they are very, very lucky! In the 90s I worked in Norwich for the Museum Service and entitlement to free parking at the Castle and other office premises ended at least 20 years ago. The County Hall staff who SHOULD be allowed to park free - or to reclaim any parking fee they pay - are those who need to park there on a day they need to drive somewhere to attend a meeting or event elsewhere in Norfolk.

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    gilded beams

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • I feel so sorry for local residents who will bear the brunt of the displaced cars. Of course staff should pay for parking and must not be allowed to claim costs back on expenses. Visitors should be allowed the first hour free which will cover most needs. One further thought - is Mr Dunning's salary paid for by the Council or direct by the union? There is still plenty of scope to reduce staff numbers by cutting out activities that no one wants without cutting back services that the public does want.

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    andy

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Once again, the Norfolk public shows how little it knows about the real stories behind these headlines. Firstly, many public sector staff, including those at NCC, are sitting somewhere around the minimum wage. Are there people earning £150k? Yes, but they're certainly not drivers, cleaners, librarians, security staff, road workers etc. Secondly, to put a different light on this story - in the twelve months up to Feb 2014 NCC councilors claimed just under £90k (of public money...) in travel and parking expenses. It will be interesting to see if, as part of these proposals, this practice will either be ended, OR extended to all staff. Level playing field? Hardly.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Metalhead

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • The problem with excess cars is because NCC have centralised more and more staff onto the site. Most of these staff need their cars to do their job as they work for a county council which, surprise, surprise, means they have to cover the whole county. Public transport cannot be relied on so they have to have cars on site to work efficiently. NCC see this as a way to relieve their budget problems so at a time when workers pay has gone down in real terms in the public sector they now face an extra cost.

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    Jonny

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Well done and well thought out County Council. You are not giving any thought to the local residence that do not have the luxury of Permit Parking and get NCC employees parking in the roads near County Hall during the day causing ill feeling. If you charge NNC employees to park they will just use the Roads surrounding County Hall cause even more confrontation. Then why should you care? Do County Hall Employees now pay for the Park and Ride?

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    turnover

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Narrow minded and fit in with Tory opinions? I wonder what state the country would be in if we had of stayed with Labour? Come on Che Bramley let's have your views? I think county hall should be knocked down and made into a large car park as NCC are not fit for purpose and that's been the case for the last 15 years. Does Mr Dunning work for NCC or is he just on the pay role to stir up trouble, perhaps if he was to go then his wages could help with parking charges. I think staff at county hall should think before they speak as a lot could change in the future and there track record isn't good.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Of course they should pay for parking, it was introduced over 10 years ago at UEA and although opposed at the time is now accepted, car parks cost a lot to maintain and there is no reason why people who use them shouldn't pay for them. It might encourage cycling

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    blister

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Canary Boy, not everyone working in Norfolk County Council is as you say massively overpaid. What about the cleaners contracted by Norse on munimum wage, how about part time staff doing 8-16hrs a week and also staff from temping agencies again who maybe on about £6.91 ish an hour. Yes for the overpaid execs they should be liable for Carpark costs, as they are the ones who award themselves several thousand Pound a year payrises whilst normal staff have a pay freeze or at best a 1% increase. Why should visitors have to pay to park, so those people who need to collect and return forms for various things, probably whom are on benefits anyway. Seems so many people are narrow minded on here recently and fit in with Tory opinions. Make the poor even poorer by taking every penny they have and then some more.

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    che bramley

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • About time too! Why should we cover the cost of parking for massively overpaid, inefficient officers and employees who earn much more than most private sector employees. I, as a regular visitor to county hall, would be happy to pay to park just as I do whenever I park in town. Cllrs should pay but knowing the -Betts- mentality they would probably reclaim the cost via expences.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, July 28, 2014

  • Given that the city council forces other companies to charge for staff parking, why not make the county council as well?

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, July 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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