REVEALED: How much your council makes from parking charges
PUBLISHED: 10:41 09 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 10 December 2018
Drivers are being forced to pay a "stealth tax", it has been claimed, after it was revealed car owners in Norwich paid £74 on average last year to park their cars.
The figures, calculated from statistics from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, show a wide disparity across Norfolk with both Breckland and Broadland District Councils making less than £1,000 thanks to their free car parks.
Norwich City Council, on the other hand, saw £10.5m in income from both on and off-street car parking - roughly £74 a head when divided by Office for National Statistics population data - with only £7.6m of that spent on parking.
Drivers in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, however, paid more than double the amount the council spent, with the council making £5.3m and spending just over £2.5m.
Jack Cousens, AA head of roads policy, said: “At a time of squeezed local authority budgets, drivers are not surprised to see that they are the cash cow council bosses turn to.
“The cost of parking should cover the cost of providing the service, not become a stealth tax paid by a few thousand who regularly visit the town.”
Councillor Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources at Norwich City Council, said: “The majority of the income generated through on and off street car parking is used to manage parking services.
“Any remaining money is invested in local transport improvements and plugging the gap left by government cuts which allows us to continue to provide essential frontline services to our residents.”
Councils such as Breckland and Broadland do not charge drivers to park, with all of the council-run car parks in towns such as Thetford, Watton, and Acle free of charge for an unlimited time period.
But it comes at a cost, with Breckland spending more than £230,000 a year on maintaining and running its car parks.
A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “Our car parks represent a significant investment in each of our towns and help to attract visitors to our high streets.
“We do however recognise that restricting the amount of time vehicles can stay in the car parks through charges or maximum use limits does have potential to increase the overall number of car park users each day.
“We are therefore, at the request of the town councils, working on plans to trial wait limits in some council car parks in Swaffham and Attleborough during 2019, however we will not be introducing charges as part of those trials.”
Broadland said its expenditure of £29,000 was calculated via business rates, rent, a percentage of staff salary and maintenance.
A spokesman said: “Broadland District Council is committed to promoting and encouraging local trade in our market towns and believe not charging for parking has good economic benefits for both our residents and our businesses to encourage people to shop local.”
Great Yarmouth Borough Council made £2.85m from parking, while spending £2.2m.
North Norfolk District Council saw income of £3.63m and spend of £902,000, South Norfolk District Council made £331,000 and spent £278,000, while Waveney District Council made £2.17m and spent £943,000.