11th Dec, 2019

County parking scheme made over £2m last year - but council still proposing 220% permit charge hike

Andy Morris 2nd Oct, 2019

OVER £2million in profit was generated by Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) parking scheme last year – but the authority still wants to raise the cost of residential permits by up to 220 per cent.

The council told residents it needed to raise annual permit charges from £25 to a maximum of £80 because the current rate “has not reflected the cost of running the permit scheme”.

But figures obtained by The Observer through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request show the council’s Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) scheme, which includes the permit scheme, generated a surplus in 2018-19 of just over £2million – a surplus which on average has grown annually by some £144,000 over the last four years.

WCC’s income from CPE last year – including pay and display fees, parking fines, and residential permits – totalled over £4.1million.

Expenditure was approaching £2.1million – including around £1.1million of costs applicable to the permit scheme.

The chair of a campaign group in Rugby was incredulous.

Ellen Boylin said: “It’s laughable. Do they think we’re completely stupid?

“They say they need to put prices up to meet the cost of the scheme, and then you get figures like these.

“It’s just crazy. If they have that much money left over then they don’t need to increase permit charges.”

County councillor Maggie O’Rourke said it seemed underhand to raise permit prices when CPE generated a surplus.

She said: “It’s upsetting when you consider WCC is making a profit from CPE.

“Yet they are still trying to grab money off some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It feels wrong.

“The whole thing is ridiculous. Some residents are already talking about coming out of the permit scheme – so the council could end up losing income.”

She added the WCC Labour group had tabled a notice of motion opposing the proposals for the next full council meeting on October 15.

“As a group we will be scrutinising the financial elements to this whole scheme. They need to kick it out because it isn’t going to work.”

WCC has proposed two options – charging £80 for all residential permits, or alternatively charging households £35 for a first permit, £55 for a second and £80 for a third.

A report is due to go before WCC’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November, and then to the council’s ruling cabinet early next year. The council aims to implement changes next April.

WCC has not responded to a request for comment.

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