Nottingham city council makes £2.3m profit from car park charges and fines
NOTTINGHAM City Council made a £2.3 million profit from parking charges and fines last year, according to Government figures.
In the last two years, parking at council-run Trinity Square car park and Lace Market car park (formerly Fletcher Gate) has gone up from £2.80 to £3.80 for two hours.
And there has also been controversy over changes in on-street car parking prices in the last couple of years.
Now, data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, published by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists, shows the council has profited by £2.3 million in 2011-12 and £2.9 million in 2010-11.
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The data includes the amount earned from fines, charges and permit schemes. This is balanced against staff wages to enforce parking, car park maintenance and other related costs.
Newark and Sherwood District Council pocketed £724,000, the second highest profit in the county last year, followed by Mansfield District Council which made £444,000 and Rushcliffe Borough Council with £203,000.
Bassetlaw District Council was reported to have made £157,000, but Broxtowe Borough Council and Gedling Borough Council both made a loss of £231,000 and £275,000 respectively.
However, councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for planning and transport at the city council, said the council is bucking the national trend of increasing parking profits. Instead, theirs have reduced by more than half a million.
She said: "While it is tempting when faced by Government cuts to increase fees, these figures show we do not fit the Institute of Advanced Motorists' picture of councils hiking parking prices.
"Our income from parking over this period has remained fairly flat, showing that any increases have been measured and offset by decreases in some tariffs, and that the overall decrease of around £600,000 is largely down to investment in parking and other transport improvements.
"In the last year, in discussion with local businesses, we have introduced changes to our on-street parking to make it simpler and cheaper to use to encourage people to visit Nottingham and we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to the city."
On-street parking now costs £1 for 30 minutes in the centre and £1 on the outskirts of the city, and time restrictions have been lifted.
Meanwhile Mansfield District Council saw a huge difference in its profits over the two years – from an £88,000 loss in 2010-11 to £444,000 profit in 2011-12. A council spokeswoman said it was due to a significant investment in the Four Seasons shopping centre in the first year.
Gedling Borough Council saw a loss of more than £1 million in 2010-11, which it put down to the introduction of free car parking.
Councillor Jim Creamer, portfolio holder for environment, said: "We are proud to have introduced two hours free car parking across the Borough of Gedling. We did this to stimulate the local economy, increase the vibrancy of our town and district centres, and to help local businesses and shoppers in tough times."
Meanwhile, Newark and Sherwood District Council disputed the figures that suggest their profits have increased by almost 40 per cent in the last year.
Ian Harrison, the council's business manager for markets and car parking, said external audits have since changed the stated figures.
He added: "Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the income generated through charging for off-street car parking was down by around £31,000 and is expected to be down again at the end of the current year by as much as £80,000."