The Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has picked up on the issue of High Street parking, causing Eastleigh Borough Council a problem…
Readers may remember that the cost of parking was raised as an issue during the Eastleigh by-election in February this year..
In his campaign, Hedge Ender Ray Hall, of the Beer Baccy & Crumpet Party, suggested that parking charges were damaging the local economy, saying that High Street Parking should be;
“…free for the first 20 minutes then 50p per hour.”
And adding that;
“Remember we own this land and expect fair and reasonable service from the local administrators. Reasonable parking charges will encourage High St trading currently being lost to the Malls, who don’t charge parking !!”
But triggering an announcement from Central Government this week, was the latest Local Authority revenue expenditure and financing budget has revealed that the net income on parking services (off-street and on-street parking) is expected to rise from £601 million nationally in 2012/13 to £635 million in 2013/2014, an increase of 5.6% which is well above inflation….
The Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, then said;
This £635 million municipal parking profit shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules.
This government has scrapped the last administration’s Whitehall rules which told councils to hike up parking charges and adopt aggressive parking enforcement. But councils aren’t listening, and local shops and hard-working families are suffering as a result.
The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers
Earlier this year, Eastleigh Borough Council’s income from parking was revealed to be £1,257,000 in 2011/12, with the leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Cllr Keith House quoted as saying;
“Parking charges are a vital way of maintaining services and keeping council tax below inflation.”
Metered on-street parking in Eastleigh sees regular increases, for no apparent reason other than to raise more money for the Council;
And with on-street parking, metered or otherwise, at a premium in the Town Centre, Eastleigh has also implemented a much loathed system of issuing residents permits to park on the road outside their homes.
Fuller details can be found on the Eastleigh Borough Council Website, but with charges of £30 for the first car, £60 for the second and £120 for a third the charges are clearly more than the administrative cost of issuing the permit.
Eastleigh’s residents parking scheme does have the effect of discouraging multiple car-ownership and on-street parking, perhaps even successfully encouraging greater use of public transport. Some corners of the political arena will hail that as beneficial, but that’s a separate issue.
By pricing the permits for second & subsequent cars differently, is Eastleigh Borough Council guilty of Eric Pickles charge, by using the households that can afford to run more than one car as a cash cow…?