West Norfolk parking profits down, report reveals

General Views of King's Lynn buildings

St James Car Park ENGANL00120131204163116
General Views of King's Lynn buildings St James Car Park ENGANL00120131204163116

The amount of money West Norfolk Council makes from car parking has fallen, according to new figures.

A report published by the RAC Foundation showed the borough made a surplus of £2.431 million on parking during the 2015-16 financial year, down around £50,000 on the previous year.

It is the third year the total has dropped, from a peak of £2.785 million in 2012-13.

But it is still the second highest in Norfolk, behind that of Norwich City Council, which recorded a figure of nearly £3 million.

And the council says the most recent figures show use of its car parks is still on the increase.

Officials say the network is “rarely” at full capacity, though the most popular car parks are often full.

Overall usage was up by 1.6 per cent in October compared with last year and 4.2 per cent in September, with the free 20 minute spaces in the Tuesday Market Place proving particularly popular.

That also coincided with a slight drop in town centre footfall figures, though the council says overall figures for the year are still up more than 6.5 per cent on last year.

The report contains figures from more than 350 local authorities across England who, between them, collected a surplus of more than £750 million.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.

“In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads. Today there are 30.7 million.

“Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.

“The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there’s no shortage of work that needs doing.”