Rugby and Warwickshire councils cashing in on car parking

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Thousands of pounds are being generated through parking charges in Rugby - with the borough council pulling in nearly £400,000 in 2011/12.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) is one of the vast majority of local authorities in England with a surplus from parking charges.

Figures released by the RAC Foundation have revealed that, excluding capital costs, RBC had an account surplus of £391,00 from 2011/12. In 2010/11 it had a surplus of £318,000 and £486,000 in 2009/10.

This is the 218th highest figure in the country.

The data comes from the annual returns councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said: “The costs to the motorist for off-street parking are generally lower than on-street. Any extra income we get from our car parks is used to maintain services and keep council tax down, for the benefit of all of our residents.”

The figures also show that Warwickshire County Council (WCC) had a surplus of £845,000 in 2011/12, £601,00 in 2010/11 and £447,000 in 2009/10 from parking.

Parking enforcement and on-street parking are the responsibility of WCC, while RBC is responsible for the off-street car parks it owns.

RBC said it acts as an agent on behalf of WCC for on-street parking services, and all income after costs is passed directly to the county council.

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said: “Any surplus generated through civil parking enforcement (CPE) is wholly reinvested into the system in a number of ways.

“The needs for an efficient CPE service are many. In addition to improvements in traffic flow, road safety, and accessibility for emergency services and emergency vehicles, better enforcement leads to a better turnover of on-street spaces.”

Talks are currently ongoing about who will be responsible for civil parking enforcement in the future, with the county council hoping to save around £300,000.

A WCC spokesman said: “The object of commissioning the work through competition is to ensure the community receives the most cost effective service possible – that is to achieve the greatest possible compliance with parking regulations at the lowest possible cost.

“The potential savings for Warwickshire County Council are estimated to be in the region of £300k per annum.

“The council has a good relationship with the district councils who currently carry out the enforcement. We will invite them to compete for the work under the new arrangements and if the competition shows that using them would provide the most cost effective service we will be pleased to commission the work from them.”

The proposals will be discussed at an RBC cabinet meeting on August 19. Final consideration will be made by WCC’s cabinet.