Hartlepool makes £278,000 parking profit from drivers in a year

Park Road car park. Picture by FRANK REID
Park Road car park. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool Council’s parking service made a ‘profit’ of more than a quarter of a million pounds last year.

New figures from the RAC Foundation show the service had a surplus of £278,000 in the financial year 2015-16.

A spokesman said: “The council constantly reviews its car parking charges policy and a report is due to be considered by the Neighbourhood Services Committee next Tuesday.

“Overall, we feel our charges are fair, comparable with neighbouring towns and they have not risen since 2009.

“We offer a number of incentives to encourage people to shop here and use the town’s facilities, including free parking after 4pm in some car parks, free parking on Sundays and free parking on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.

“Income generated from car parking income is used to cover the cost of providing the service and is also used to support other council services which is vital as we face ongoing significant cuts in Government funding.”

The RAC Foundation report shows the surplus produced from council parking operations in England has reached a record high of just over three quarters of a billion pounds.

In the 2015-16 financial year, the 353 local authorities in England generated a combined ‘profit’ of £756 million from their on- and off-street parking activities - a nine per cent leap on the 2014-15 figure of £693million, and 34% higher than in 2011-12.

Just 49 - including Sunderland - failed to show a surplus.

Foundation director Steve Gooding said the price of parking was a compromise between the drive to attract people into towns and cities and the need to keep the roads reasonably clear: “These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.

We feel our charges are fair, comparable with neighbouring towns and they have not risen since 2009.

Council spokesman

“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 while 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.”

The RAC figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices into account and then deducting the costs of running car parks and parking enforcement.