Record-high parking profits for district council
- Credit: André Langlois
The district council clocked up £2.4million in profit from parking charges last year, according to the latest figures.
The 2018/19 figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show a record return for the council since comparable records began in 2008/9.
A consultation has been carried out, by the council, on plans to raise hourly parking charges from £1 to £1.20. The leader of the council, Ben Ingham, has said any increases will not come into force until 2021.
A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: "East Devon District Council owns 57 car parks that currently contribute around £2.4million which is used to provide a range of essential council services including, for example, our recycling and refuse collection contract.
"We have a robust car parks strategy recognising our responsibility to manage the council's assets for the greater good of the whole of East Devon and to balance local sensitivities alongside their potential to earn.
"We offer value for money concessions, free parking offers and inexpensive permits for many of our regular customers including residents and business owners who can now pay as little as 27p per day if they buy an annual permit for their town for just £100.
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"We remain acutely aware of the sensitivity of our high street economies to unfair and unreasonable car parking tariffs so we are careful to balance this issue alongside our other considerations. A good example of this, is our hugely successful winter offer where customers pay just £2 and stay all day and can move to any other EDDC pay and display car park - valid for the whole day until midnight."
The AA has been critical of parking charges and Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: "When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels.
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"At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool used to try and fill the councils' coffers.
"Some of the incomes are eye-watering, so drivers want to see that cash reinvested in local roads to eliminate potholes and poor road markings."
Transport research charity the RAC Foundation said profits could be overstated in some areas, as costs such as interest payments are not included.