Councils blasted over parking permit ‘postcode lottery’

Councils have come under fire after the costs of residential parking permits were found to vary hugely, with some drivers paying as much as £750 a year or as little as 50p.

Not only that, but as well as costs varying between council districts, some parking permits for on-road parking can vary by as much as £97 within the same council area.

These figures come as part of an analysis from Churchill car insurance, which found that almost a third of councils have a range of parking charges, while only one in seven offer free permits.

Only one in seven councils offer free parking

Birmingham and Manchester city councils were found to have the highest costs for parking permits, charging drivers up to £750 each and every year – more than twelve times the average cost across Britain.

Surprisingly, drivers in London get a slightly better deal, with prices for parking permits across the capital topping out at £434 for a permit in Islington.

A spokesperson for Birmingham council said: “These figures simply show the highest cost but do not indicate average cost.

“The £750 will be an annual charge for the city centre where parking spaces are at a premium and parking charges are higher; the annual charge will actually represent a significant saving.

“It is interesting to note that this survey comes from a car insurance company whose premiums will be influenced to some degree by postcodes and local issues and circumstances.”

Regardless, in stark contrast, South Ayrshire council in Scotland charges only 50p for an annual parking permit each year, while the nearby West Dunbarton council doesn’t charge for parking at all.

Other variable factors include zone tariffs, with Birmingham city council charging £750 for an inner-city zone, but only a tiny £16 for permits which cover parking zones outside of the city centre.

Prices can also increase hugely for multiple permits, with Daventry district council charging £17 for the first permit, while additional permits will cost motorists an extortionate £288 each.

Likewise, Hammersmith and Fulham in London charges £60 for the first permit alongside a discount for having a “greener vehicle”, but a second permit would cost a whopping £497.

Experts say you should factor parking into overall costs

Churchill chief executive Steve Barrett said: “Parking controls and permits play a huge part in keeping roads safe and clear, as well as ensuring residents have priority over spaces surrounding their property.

“Our research shows that parking permit costs vary considerably across the UK, so we’d urge motorists to factor this in when looking to purchase a new vehicle, especially if it is an additional vehicle.”

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