Parking permit hikes challenge

Sheffield Council operates parking permit zones in areas around the edge of the city centre
Sheffield Council operates parking permit zones in areas around the edge of the city centre
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Sheffield Council has been urged to re-think large increases in the cost of parking permits after a court ruled they should not be used to generate income.

The High Court judgement came after Barnet Council was challenged by a motorist over charges.

Mrs Justice Lang said the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act – which allows councils to set up permit zones – ‘is not a fiscal measure and does not authorise the authority to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes’.

Barnet Council is appealing but Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrats say the case should force a re-think of the council’s increase which came into force in April.

A first permit for residents has risen from £20 to £36 in 2013/14, while charges for businesses rose from £40 to £72.

Broomhill councillor and Lib Dem group leader, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “The council should review parking permit charges.”

But Alan Wellings, a member of Broomhill Forum, said: “There is a strong case for motorists paying a little more. I believe charges for motor vehicles do not cover the social, health and environmental costs they create.”

Income from parking permit zones nets Sheffield Council a substantial sum – most recent figures showed a £448,000 surplus in 2010/11.

But the council said the bulk of the money comes from pay and display payments by non-permit holders, plus fines.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for transport, said: “Income from permits contributes to the cost of administering zones but does not cover the full amount.”