Published: August 3, 2013
Burnham motorists help earn council £501k surplus from parking costs

Sedgemoor District Council has been ranked 181st out of 359 UK councils in a report that features a league table of those councils which have earned the biggest cash surpluses from parking charges.

Burnham-On-Sea motorists have helped to boost the bank balance of the council, according to the new report from the RAC Foundation which has been generated from the annual returns that councils provide to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The figures are based on three factors - on-street parking charges, off-street parking charges and parking penalties - while the running costs of parking operations are deducted from the total to produce the surplus figure.

In the last financial year, Sedgemoor's income from parking tickets was £819,400, while season tickets brought in £59,600 and penalty charges generated £58,900 - making a total income of £937,900. Since its expenditure on car parks was £436,514, the result is a surplus is £501,386.

Sedgemoor spokeswoman Claire Faun told "In Sedgemoor, any surplus is used on discretionary services such as parks, dog wardens, floral displays, play areas and equipment and beach wardens."

"If the £501,386 surplus from car parking fees was not used for services, an additional 11% would have to be added to every resident’s council tax bill to pay for those discretionary services."

"In the budget consultation, carried out in autumn 2012, 65.2% of respondents said that Sedgemoor should look to increase other sources of income, such as car parking charges, rather than council tax to pay for local services."

She added that off-street parking does not fall within the 1984 regulations and we are not acting illegally.

Sedgemoor District Council own and operate 18 off-street car parks with a total of 1,691 spaces.

In Burnham, those parking spaces are in the High Street, Oxford Street, Pier Street East, Pier Street South and Pier Street.

In 2011/12, English councils had a total current account surplus of £565 million from their on-street and off-street parking operations. This is a £54 million increase on the £511 million surplus in 2010/11, said the RAC Foundation. It added that the figures showed that just 52 (14%) of the 359 councils reported a deficit on their parking operations in 2011/12.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "For many local authorities, parking charges are a nice little earner. Not all authorities make big sums. Several run a current account deficit and indeed of those with surpluses many will see the money vanish when capital expenditure is taken into account."

"But the bottom line is that hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges."


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