Councillors to investigate reducing car park charges

North Norfolk District Council/NNDC car park, Vicarage Street, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Councillors in North Norfolk are to consider whether reduced parking fees have helped boost car park revenue - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

A council is to look at how much money its car parks made during 2020 to see if there is "any merit" in reducing charges to incentivise people to use them more.

Councillors in north Norfolk have requested to see data which shows how much money the area's car parks took over the past 12 months and to see if reduced parking charges have helped boost income.

The question on whether reducing fees would be possible was asked by councillor Nigel Dixon, during a North Norfolk District Council overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday, December 15.

Mr Dixon asked whether "any consideration had been given to reducing fees and charges particularly in the light of the impact of Covid-19" and if in areas which had seen reduced charges, revenue had increased.

Steve Blatch, the new chief executive of North Norfolk District Council. Photo: NNDC

Steve Blatch, chief executive of NNDC - Credit: Archant

Steve Blatch, chief executive of NNDC, said there had been no formal consideration of reducing charges although the council did have data for its car parks, which could be shared with councillors.

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Mr Blatch said: "The general pattern of income over the summer is that seaside or coastal car parks were ahead of normal annual income. During July, August and September income in coastal car parks was ahead of other years, whereas the income for inland towns was down."

Mr Blatch said local circumstances such as temporary free parking in Holt and North Walsham would also have impacted takings at inland car parks. He said while 2020 could not be consistently compared with previous years there was "some strong data that could be shared and presented for discussion".

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Councillor Liz Withington said she felt business owners and the community would be "very appreciative of no rise" in car parking charges. 

Councillor Eric Seward said NNDC had a balanced budget and "there was no need to increase parking charges".

He said parking income generated around £2m a year which  "a lot of the services were dependent on".

Mr Seward said: "I think if we don't need to increase charges from a financial point of view then we shouldn't do in what is an economically challenging situation."

The data will be presented to the overview and scrutiny committee in January.

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