South Gloucestershire Council defends free parking policy which cost it £382,000

January 29 2019
Council defends cost of free parking

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council lost more from parking enforcement than almost anywhere else in the country last year – but all three of its political parties stand by the policy.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, analysed by the Reach Data Unit, show the authority spent £1.1million in 2017/18 and got an income of £715,000 from charges – a loss of £382,000.

In contrast, its neighbouring authorities spent more and got more in return.

Bristol City Council made £9.5 million and B&NES made a profit of £7.8m.

Only three other councils had a bigger deficit.

But council leader Toby Savage said: “I am proud that South Gloucestershire continues to be one of the few remaining places in the country that supports its high streets with free parking.”

The council’s Lib Dem and Labour groups have also pledged their support for continuing the free parking policy.

A council spokesman said any introduction of charges would require a political decision.

He confirmed that no formal studies have been carried out into how much the authority could bring in if it charged the same amount as other councils.

The £1.1million expenditure is on enforcement officers, appeals team, camera cars, corporate overheads, regulation signs and lining, and cleaning and maintenance of car parks.

Income comes from penalty charge notices from on-street parking fines and bus lane enforcement.

Clare Miller/Reach Data Unit.