Parking cash claim rejected

Bournemouth Gardens Car Park at Whitley Bay.
Bournemouth Gardens Car Park at Whitley Bay.

Council leaders have dismissed claims that they have raked in more than £1.5m over the last three years from car parking charges.

Figures released last week by the RAC Foundation showed that North Tyneside Council made £813,000 in 2011-12, £573,000 in 2010-11, and £189,000 in 2009-10 from charges and fines.

But the local authority dismissed the numbers, saying it had only made £420,890 in 2011-12, £448,960 in 2010-11, and £163,675 in 2009-10.

The RAC figures come as the government calls on councils to support town centres by avoiding high parking prices.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles, MP, said: “This government has scrapped the last administration’s Whitehall rules which told councils to hike up parking charges and adopt aggressive parking enforcement.

“But councils aren’t listening and local shops and hard-working families are suffering as a result. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers.”

A council spokesperson said they did not view income from car parking charges as a “cash cow”.

They added: “Parking surpluses help support a range of council services, including keeping the highways safe for pedestrians and motorists – including street lighting, road improvements and parking services.”