Council loses £500,000 in car park fees as Covid bites

Councillors want to increase parking charges in North Norfolk, while raising their allowances.

Councillors in NNDC have review car parking charges - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Councillors have agreed to continue to review car parking charges across North Norfolk after the impact of coronavirus on the district's car parks was revealed. 

In December, North Norfolk District Council's overview and scrutiny committee requested to see data which showed how much money the area's car parks had taken over the past 12 months, to see if reduced parking charges had helped boost income.

During the 2019/20 financial, NNDC's 30 pay and display car parks generated the local authority a net income of £2,325,815.21.

But on Wednesday, January 13, councillor Eric Seward, presented the committee with figures which showed the local authority's car parking revenue had been significantly affected by coronavirus.

Over the first three quarters of the 2020/21 financial year, car parking income was £473,662 (23pc) lower than in the previous financial year and £499,703 (24.5pc) lower than the 20/21 budgeted figure.

Eric Seward, North Norfolk district councillor for North Walsham East, and Liberal Democrat portfoli

Eric Seward, North Norfolk district councillor for North Walsham East - Credit: Archant

Mr Seward told the committee "historically about 75pc of the council's car parking income" had come from coastal car parks in towns like Sheringham, Holt and Wells while inland towns had "not been big income earners".

He said some of the district's coastal car parks recorded historically high levels of income which reflected the high level of visitors the district had between July and September.



Steve Blatch, chief executive of NNDC, said he did not believe it was possible to measure "on the basis of experience" whether free parking contributed to coronavirus recovery and if it was a "significant generator or positive outcome for any location".

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He said car parking revenue provided income which helped fund a number of council services. 

"If [the council] made a decision to offer a reduction or extended periods of free parking it would significantly impact on the council's corporate ability to provide services and infrastructure across the district.

"But I don't think it's possible for us to scientifically measure examine with any robust analysis the benefit of any of free car parking periods," Mr Blatch said.

The committee agreed to consider if greater efforts could be made to promote annual and seasonal car parking permits, continue to review car parking charges and performance across the district and look at opportunities for expanding car parking facilities where appropriate.

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