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Figures suggest council spends more than it makes on car parks

17 Feb 2024 3 minute read
A pay and display car park sign in Newport. Credit: LDRS

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

A councillor has called for a review of a council’s parking operations after figures suggested the authority was spending more than it was making.

Matthew Evans questioned whether the current system offered good value for money.

Figures shared with the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) show the cost of running a dozen car parks in Newport totalled £1.17 million in 2023.

Concern

The council collected slightly more than £1m from pay machines at the same car parks in the 2022/23 financial year.

Cllr Evans, the council’s opposition leader, said the figures quoted “are of a real concern”.

“You have to seriously question how it’s costing almost £1.2m in 2023 to run and maintain our council-run car parks, when offset against £1m in revenue in 2022/23?” he said.

“We need an urgent ‘root and branch’ review of our all council-run car parks across the city.

“The council seems happy to lose money just to punish motorists.”

Newport Council told the LDRS it also raised money from resident and business parking permits, contributing to a total income of £1.5m and a “small profit” from its parking operations.

Leasehold agreement

The figures, obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests and shown to the LDRS, show the council’s car parks at Emlyn Street, Faulkner Road and the Riverfront each made more than £60,000 in ticket revenue last year.

The Kingsway, which the council runs under a leasehold agreement, was by far the most lucrative car park, bringing in £616,000.

But the council also has to spend a considerable amount of money on running and maintaining each car park, typically ranging from around £4,000 to £10,000 in the 2022/23 financial year.

At the Kingsway car park, the sums involved are again much higher – the overall running costs in 2022/23 were £831,000.

This included £336,000 for the leasehold rent, and £198,000 on utilities.

Energy costs

“The council uses low energy lighting at all locations but, as everyone is aware, the price of electricity in the UK has increased significantly over the past two years”, a Newport Council spokeswoman said.

She added that the authority had appointed a contractor to install solar panels on the Kingsway car park.

Cllr Evans also said it “seems nonsensical” to charge for car parks such as Fourteen Locks, which made just £994 in ticket income in 2023.

The council spokeswoman told the LDRS the “modest” parking charges at countryside parks generates income “that is used to help maintain these facilities”.


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago

Surely the Kingsway Car park should be one for the Council to abandon as the landowner is making a bucket of money from the Council. Take the leasehold cost of £336,000 out and the figures look very different. After all, if the lease holder wants to use the space as a car park after the Council has given up the lease, perhaps it might be worth looking into a licence from the Council for using that space for that purpose. That would improve the figures further.

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