Revealed: How much profit your council makes on car parks

Rouen Road car park which is operated by Norwich City Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rouen Road car park which is operated by Norwich City Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Millions of pounds worth of profit is being made from car parks in the region, new figures have revealed.

Cadogan Road car park in Cromer. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Cadogan Road car park in Cromer. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

Car parks run by councils in the region created a surplus of £9.7m during the 2016/17 financial year.

Those run by King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council made the most money during this period with a surplus of £2.9m - up from £2.4m the year before. It makes the council the 71st most profitable in England, according to figures released by the RAC.

The figures were calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices and then deducting running costs.

A spokesperson for King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council said the money collected from council-owned car parks is used to help keep council tax low and to support vital and much-needed local services.

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She added: 'The borough of King's Lynn and west Norfolk is the 12th largest district in the country, covering an area of 550 square miles. It is no surprise that we appear higher up the table than smaller rural districts.

'Car park charges were increased in April 2016 for the first time following a five-year freeze, which would account for the increase.'

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Meanwhile Norwich City Council made £2.8m and North Norfolk District Council saw a profit of £1.7m. Waveney District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council also saw profits.

But some councils in the region reported negative numbers. Fenland saw a loss of £295,000 and Breckland posted one of £194,000 - a further loss of £15,000 on the year before. It is free to park vehicles at both of these authorities car parks.

Nationally the surplus produced from council parking operations in England rose by 10pc over the past year. Some £819 million was generated from the on and off-street parking activities of the 353 local authorities.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding urged motorists to read their own local authority's parking report to see the explanation for parking charges and how any surplus is being spent.

He went on: 'The upward path in profits is in part a reflection of the record number of cars and volume of traffic.

'The silver lining for drivers is that these surpluses must almost exclusively be ploughed back into transport and as any motorist will tell you there is no shortage of work to be done.

'We welcome the fact that councils are increasingly investing in technology to help make parking easier and less stressful.

'Westminster, for example, has created an app which directs drivers to free parking bays, helping to end the motoring misery of prowling the streets looking for a space.'

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's transport spokesman, claimed councils must 'strike a balance' when setting charges in a bid to ensure there are parking spaces available.

He added: '(Parking charges) help not only keep the roads clear but keep pedestrians, motorists and cyclists safe and ensure people can park near their homes and local shops.

'Income raised through on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £12 billion roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.'

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