COUNCIL bosses raked in more than £300,000 last year in parking revenue.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s revenue from parking in 2013/14 totalled £342,000
It is a fall from 2012/13 when it stood at £346,000, which itself is a significant drop from £445,000 in 2011/12 and £510,000 in 2010/11.
Council chiefs say income from parking is vital to pay for services for Hartlepool residents, and any revenue left over after costs are paid goes back into the town.
A spokesman for the council said: “We have seen a gradual decline in car park income in recent years, and one of the reasons for this is the free parking initiative after 4pm in certain car parks, and free parking on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.
“It must be emphasised that car parking revenue is re-invested into improving road safety, and this is vital, given that the council has seen a huge reduction in the Government’s grant of almost 40 per cent over the last four years.”
Drivers can park for free in all town centre car parks on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.
Shoppers already benefit from free parking on Sundays all-year round in town centre car parks, but are now able to park for free on the two remaining Saturdays before Christmas.