The number of parking fines issued in Brighton & Hove rose by just over half of one per cent last year - from 122,737 in 2014/15 to 123,556 in 2015/16.
It reflects a growth in the number of controlled parking areas, installed at residents’ request, says the council. Two schemes were introduced - in the city’s Fiveways area, and off Ditchling Road.
The news comes in the authority’s latest Annual Parking Report, covering the financial year 2015-2016.
It also shows most of the city’s on-street parking is still one pound an hour.
An increase in residents’ parking and a big reduction in costs contributed to a rise in the council’s financial surplus from parking. This was £12.7m. Nearly all of the money will be spent on 46,000 bus passes for local elderly and disabled people. Councils are obliged by law to provide the passes.
The £12.7m compares to £11.47m two years ago, in 2013/14. The latest surplus is considerably more than last year, when it was just over £9m – a figure artificially reduced by the council’s cash collection agency going bust owing the authority £1.26m.
Just over 18 per cent of parking income came from fines. The rest comes from on-street parking charges and controlled parking zones requested by residents.
The surplus has been boosted by the council’s parking department reducing its costs by £1m during the year by various efficiencies, including scrapping the car pound for towed-away vehicles. A move towards pay-by-phone cut costs of collecting cash and repairing machines.
The council also points out:
The most expensive car park in the city – The Lanes under Brighton Town Hall – has the highest occupancy rate. Cheaper car parks in the central area are less busy.
Most of the city’s on-street parking is charged at £1 an hour – and has not increased for many years. It is reflected in the fact four out of five parking machines charge £1 and hour.
Surveys before the current train disruption showed most visitors do not travel to the city by car – about 40 percent of day trippers drive in, the rest using buses or railways.
Chair of the council’s environment committee Cllr Gill Mitchell said: “Parking enforcement aims to keep traffic flowing and more fairly allocate scarce parking spaces. Without parking enforcement the city would be a chaotic free-for-all dominated by illegal parking. The money raised is ploughed into providing 46,000 bus passes which helps older people travel and probably keeps thousands more vehicles off the roads, reducing congestion for those who must drive.”
The Annual Parking Report can be viewed here among agenda papers for the environment committee on November 29.