Sheffield Council makes £3.4m profit from parking services in 12 months

Wellington Street Car Park. Picture: Andrew Roe
Wellington Street Car Park. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Sheffield Council made a £3.4m ‘profit’ on parking last year, new figures have revealed.

Government data analysed by the RAC Foundation shows the council ran a surplus on its parking operations of £3.4m in 2015/16 - up from the £2.9m it made in 2014/15.

The figure puts Sheffield Council 58th out of 353 local authorities for the highest surplus collected.

Since 2011/12, the council has raked in more than £13m in profits from parking fees.

All money made by councils on parking has to be spent on parking-related activities.

Nationally, the surplus produced from council parking operations in England has reached a record high of £756m - a nine per cent leap on the year before.

Just 49 councils made a loss on running parking services.

The largest surpluses were seen in London with the 33 London boroughs making £332 million between them – 44 per cent of the English total.

Westminster had the largest surplus in England (£55.9 million) followed by Kensington & Chelsea (£34.2 million) and Camden (£25.2 million).

The biggest profits outside of London were reported by Brighton & Hove (£20.1 million) followed by Nottingham (£13.6 million) and Milton Keynes (£10.8 million).

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.

“In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads, today there are 30.7 million.

“Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.

“The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there’s no shortage of work that needs doing.”

A spokesman for Sheffield City Council said: “There are two main reasons as to why the income the council generated from parking services increased in 2015/16 – and neither are to do with parking fines. Indeed, the amount of money we made from Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) actually decreased last year.

“Income increased as more people are parking in our pay and display bays, more people are purchasing residents’ permits and more developers are hiring bays for skips and building materials.

“At the same time, though, our costs have decreased compared to 2014/15. Parking Services has moved offices to save costs, and we had additional support services which were connected to a short-term project in 2014/15, so overall costs fell in 2015/16.

“Overall, increased use of services and also making the service more cost-efficient accounts for the increase in surplus - not any changes to charges or an increase in the number of PCNs issued.”