Torbay Council defends its record on parking
TORBAY has defended its record on parking charges after being named in the top 50 councils in the country for the amount it made on parking charges.
The RAC said that together the 359 English authorities made £412million from their on street and car park operations in 2011/12. This was £54million up on the figures for 2010/11.
Torbay made Just over £3million that year, up from £2.7million the year before and £2.6million in 2009/10. That put it in 47th position.
Teignbridge made £1.8million in 2011/12 putting it in 82 position and the South Hams made £1.7million in 87th.
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The figures have been highlighted by the RAC Foundation. Director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “The bottom line is that hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges.”
Cllr Robert Excell, executive lead for parking, said the figures for the two district councils did not include the money which goes to Devon County Council for on street parking.
He said Torbay Council had been revising its parking system, and for example introduced a £50 permit which enables people to park in car parks for no extra charge between 3pm and 10am.
“That’s less than £1 a week, and you can leave your car overnight if you go out in the evening and pick it up the next day,” he said.
He said the income was used for repairs and maintenance, including £350,000 new lifts in Union Square, £100,000 improved car park lighting, and the introduction of pay on exit system at Lower Union Lane from October. The council also had a £4million bill for concessionary bus passes to meet.
Cllr Excell said: “My mantra is making parking affordable but the council also has to balance its budget and the charges are a council decision.”
Robert Newman, chairman of Torbay Business Forum, said: “I hope Torbay Council will take note of the RAC Foundation Report because I am concerned at the perception that the council are using parking income as a way of raising general revenue.
“I am particularly concerned that they are driving people away from the town centres. It’s like the new Torquay seafront evening charge, we don’t want to put people off, we want to attract more people in.”
The good news is that the hot July weather saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of people using the car parks compared with the same period last year.