We’re not milking motorists, say Norfolk councils

Norfolk councils say they are not milking motorists with parking charges.

Norfolk councils say they are not milking motorists with parking charges. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2008

Councils in Norfolk have insisted they are not milking motorists, despite figures showing some authorities racked up huge surpluses from parking charges.

In 2011/12, English councils had a total current account surplus of £565m from their on-street and off-street parking, according to the RAC Foundation.

Even after capital charges - money councils put in to replace infrastructure - are taken into account, the combined surplus in 2011/12 was still £412m.

But the majority of authorities which netted the most were in London, with councils in Norfolk not among the chief culprits.

In the RAC's list, West Norfolk Council was ranked at 58, with a surplus of £2.5m in 2011/12. A spokesman for the authority said the income from its car parks helped provide other services.

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She added the authority had not increased its council tax for the last three years and offered a number of offers on parking, including parking for free in King's Lynn after 3pm during the school summer holidays.

The list saw Norwich City Council ranked at 312, stating the city actually lost £36,000 on parking in 2011/12.

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A spokeswoman said 2011/12 saw a surplus in off-street parking of £1.52m, but a deficit of £2.35m in 2012/13, caused by a need to add asset revaluation charges to the accounts that year. If those were excluded there was a surplus of £2.25m.

She added: 'Any surplus generated from off-street car parks goes in to the general revenue fund.

'This is allocated to operational expenditure for these car parks, as well as funding other services provided through the revenue budget.

'This money also helps us invest in the city to make it a vibrant, attractive place to live and visit.

'Our off-street tariffs are not set purely to make a surplus but are considered in the light of private sector competition and in support of local transportation strategies.'

Stuart Clancy, portfolio holder for economic development at Broadland District Counci said: 'We are keen to support local businesses and believe that offering free parking encourages more people to use shops and amenities.'

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