Parking charges at city parks has raised £0

Families enjoying the weather in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Proposed car parking charges at city parks have so far generated no money - Credit: Archant

City Hall has admitted its scheme for parking charges at Norwich parks has so far raised no money for the public purse.

The charges were announced in Norwich City Council's February 2021 budget, to help raise £50,000 and balance the books.

Under the policy, charges were to be introduced for those using car parks at the city's parks.

At a meeting on Tuesday James Wright, the leader of the Liberal Democrats at City Hall, asked how much income has been generated so far this financial year and if the £50,000 target had been reached.

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Jamie Honeywood

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

But Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing admitted no income has been generated to date.

He said: “Due to capacity issues within the parks and open spaces team, the implementation of this saving has been delayed.  

“These have now been addressed, and the proposal will be implemented in the coming weeks. As a result, no income has yet been generated by this proposal.  

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“The shortfall has been met by underspends and higher than anticipated income in other parts of the service.” 

Matthew Packer, Labour candidate for Sewell. Pic: Labour Party.

Matthew Packer, Labour candidate for Sewell. Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

When the parking charges were first proposed last year, Mr Wright warned they could lead to people parking on nearby residential roads around sites like Eaton Park in his ward.

Mr Wright's question comes after the city council failed to install pay machines at its Barn Road car park for nine months after it opened in December 2020.

City Hall said the delay - which is expected to have cost it around £26,500 - had been due to the pandemic.

Green councillor Ben Price asked about the council's intention to carry out a car parking review, and also what plans it has for reducing the reliance on income generated from parking charges and encouraging people away from cars to public transport and active travel.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for inclusive and sustainable growth, said car parks significantly contributed to the city's economy, especially when it needed to make £10.56m of savings over the four years from 2022/23.

He said: "The car parking service makes a considerable direct contribution to the current revenue budget and maintaining income to meet the significant financial challenges that the council faces is important."