Hartlepool Borough Council made £178,000 last year from parking charges

Car park in Park Road, Hartlepool.
Car park in Park Road, Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council raked in £178,000 last year from parking charges in the town.

The figure was a rise from £110,000 in 2016/17 and ranked the council as 277th nationally.

But the figure is a huge drop from £476,000 in 2014/15, the highest it stood in the last five years.

The highest in the country was Westminster in London which raised £57,582,000 last year and the highest in the North East was Newcastle which raised £8,541,000.

It comes after Hartlepool Borough Council last month agreed to increase its parking provision in Seaton Carew by another 350 spaces.

The council approved £550,000 proposals to extend the Sea View Car Park, increasing its capacity from 330 to 680.

Council bosses said in May they would consider extending the capacity at the site after parking problems during the bank holiday weekend.

Durham County Council made £514,000 in parking charges in 2016/17, a rise from £264,000 in the previous year.

According to analysis from the RAC, councils in England have seen their parking ‘profits’ rise by almost a third (32%) in just four years.

In 2017-18, the combined surplus made by the 353 English local authorities was £867 million, up from £658 million in 2013-14.

Total income from both on-street and off-street parking activity was £1.66 billion in 2017-18.

Total expenditure was £793 million. Additionally, councils may incur interest payments or depreciation on their capital assets such as car parks, though this is not accounted for in these official figures.

The difference between the two - £867 million - is the surplus or profit.

This is 6% more than the £819 million made in the previous financial year (2016-17). It is also 11% higher than the £782 million surplus that the councils themselves had predicted in their budgets.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation shows that of the 353 councils which made official financial returns to central government, only 39 made a loss from their parking activities.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said about the national picture: “When totted up council parking income amounts to a multi-million-pound business.

“Our purpose in publishing this analysis is not to suggest the existence of any sharp practice, but to encourage motorists to seek out and read their own local authority’s annual parking report - and ask some pointed questions if their authority doesn’t publish one.

“We think it is important that motorists check for themselves whether their own council’s explanation of the level of charges, penalties and details of how the net income is then spent reflects, as it should, the use of parking controls purely as a tool to manage traffic.”