Councils and communities lose parking permit income thanks to a lack of marketing, parking specialist suggested.
How lost parking permit money might have been spent
Local Councils that fail to sell all their parking permits lose £50 million per-annum collectively to spend on communities, YourParkingSpace claimed. The company – that enables motorists to reserve parking space on driveways, in garages and various other spots – argued that poor marketing might contribute to such losses.
The parking specialist mentioned Waverley Borough Council, in particular. It stated that it sold 205 of 918 annual tickets in 2015/16, so could have raised a further £616,889. Simultaneously, it raised council tax by the maximum permitted to fill a budget deficit, save jobs and maintain services.
The company pointed its finger at others too. It argued that had Northampton Council sold a further 3 annual parking permits – at £1,296 each – it could have saved a mobility service that closed recently following a £3,000 cut in funding. This initiative formerly helped people with mobility issues hire mobility scooters.
Further, Cheshire East Council recently cut funding for Children's Centres by £500,000 having sold 442 of 1,098 annual permits. It could have collected a further £460,512.
Birmingham City Council also came under the spotlight. It recently cancelled funding for a service that investigated cruelty to dogs in a bid to save £24,000 per-annum. However – it is claimed – selling a further 21 annual parking permits for £1,190 each could have saved this service and, by implication, countless abused dogs.
Councils with potential to improve
The parking firm's conclusions came, in part, from Freedom of Information request data from 256 Local Councils. It also listed those that it estimated lost the most income in 2015/16. These are:
- Hart District Council - £656,400,
- Waverley Borough Council - £616,889,
- Aberdeen City Council - £584,640,
- Redbridge Council - £517,632,
- Cheshire East Council - £460,512,
- Mid Sussex District Council - £290,248,
- Ealing Council- £290,107,
- Basildon Borough Council- £165,886,
- Great Yarmouth Borough Council - £127,015,
- Wigan Borough Council - £104,910.
Drastic spending cuts
Harrison Woods, Managing Director at YourParkingSpace, said: “As deep budget pressures force Local Councils to make drastic spending cuts, the extra revenue that could be made through effectively marketing their parking permits could help fund vital services that are at risk of being lost.”
He added: “Many of the private parking spaces that we advertise in town and cities are often quickly let - so it is clear that the demand for long term parking is there. Councils could be missing a trick by simply not marketing them very well.”