Parking profits anger Sheffield drivers

Profits from parking charges and fines in Sheffield have risen by almost 40 per cent in a year, new figures show
Profits from parking charges and fines in Sheffield have risen by almost 40 per cent in a year, new figures show
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Motorists have accused Sheffield Council of taking them for a ride after the authority’s profits from parking charges leapt by almost 40 per cent.

Figures show the council’s profits from parking fees and fines after costs rose from £1.793 million in 2010-11 to £2.493m in 2011-12.

Meanwhile, profits fell from £981,000 to £552k in Barnsley, and from £470k to £296k in Doncaster. Rotherham had a rise from £247k to £352k but profits also fell from £1.309m to £1.262m in Chesterfield, and North East Derbyshire went from a £32k profit to a £54k loss.

Sheffield’s increased profit came from expansion of bus gate enforcement, residents’ permit zones and increased on-street and car park parking charges.

Sheffield Council said the proceeds have been used for transport projects - and that its profits are much lower than in other large cities.

Leeds made £6.8 million and Manchester £6.3m in 2011-12 according to the figures obtained by the RAC Foundation.

Company director Rob Prior, a member of Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, said: “Parking fees are putting people off going into the city centre and it doesn’t do our city any good.

“Sheffield Council seems to be targeting motorists to make up for people not paying council tax.”

But Howard Fry, secretary of Broomhill Forum, said: “I would prefer to pay higher parking charges on the basis the council has more money to improve bus services.”

Sheffield Council opposition leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “Money is tight but instead of going after motorists to raise extra cash, Labour should be cracking down on council tax dodgers.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, said: “We have had a recent review of city centre parking and reduced charges at off-street car parks by up to half.

“Parking is an income stream, but the money goes into parking services or for road safety improvements.”