West Norfolk council's record car park haul revealed
West Norfolk Council made more money from parking last year than ever before, according to government figures.
Parking services in the borough raised £3.1 million in profit in 2018-19, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data – the highest figure recorded since comparable records began in 2008-9.
But, despite criticism from motoring organisation, the authority has defended its record, insisting that the funds are used to provide local services and help to keep council tax bills down.
The data shows that most of the total, around £2.7 million, came from off-street parking provision with the remainder coming from on-street sites.
The borough council points out that on-street parking is administered on behalf of Norfolk County Council.
A spokesman said the money from those sites goes to County Hall and is ringfenced for transport improvements.
But Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels.
“At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool used to try and fill the councils’ coffers. Some of the incomes are eyewatering, so drivers want to see that cash reinvested in local roads to eliminate potholes and poor road markings.”
However, the council says its figures are generated from the use of more than 6,000 parking spaces it operates across the borough, over four times the number provided by the next biggest district in the county.
Its spokesman added: “Over 3,000 of those spaces are in our coastal resort areas.
“These spaces are highly seasonal and support the coastal economy during the summer but would not been seen as financially viable by private operators.
“Money collected from council-owned car parks is used to help keep council tax low for residents, to support vital and much-needed local services and to provide a varied events programme to encourage people to visit the area to support the local economy.
“Privately-owned pay-and-display car parks are predominantly more expensive for motorists, and the profits are not ploughed back into local services.”
More by this authorAllister Webb