Cash strapped councils could be missing out on nearly fifty million pounds of extra revenue a year by failing to market their parking spaces effectively.
Online parking market place YourParkingSpace.co.uk found that a number of local authorities were struggling to sell many of their annual parking season tickets, which could have netted each authority hundreds of thousands of extra pounds a year.
The revelation, based on Freedom of Information responses from 265 Councils, comes at a time when local authorities up and down the country are being forced to pull the plug on vital public services in order to deal with drastic central government funding cuts and steep savings targets.
The borough of Waverley, which this year voted to raise council taxes to help address its budget deficit, sold just 205 of their 918 annual parking tickets in 2015/2016, potentially missing out on over £600,000. In February, members at the authority’s full council meeting approved the maximum percentage rise to council tax in order to protect jobs and frontline services, but warned that it would be more difficult next year.
“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,” explained Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
The findings found that Cheshire East Council, whose members voted to cut £500,000 of funding for its Children’s Centres earlier this year, issued just 442 of its 1098 annual parking permits, losing out on around £460,000.
Had Birmingham City Council sold another 21 annual parking permits priced at £1,190 it could have continued to investigate dog cruelty cases, a service that was stopped earlier this year in a bid to save £24,000 a year.
Meanwhile, in Northampton, the Council would have needed to have sold just three more annual parking permits, priced at £1,296 to save the town’s shop mobility service. The service, descried as a ‘lifeline, which provides mobility scooter hire for disabled and less mobile shoppers, recently announced that it will be ceasing its service from September due to a £3,000 cut to the funding it receives from the Borough Council.
“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. Over the past 12 months we’ve generated over £5 million in income for businesses and private individuals, and the revenue potential for Councils is huge,” added Woods.