Harrogate council made £2m from parking charges last year

Harrogate Borough Council clocked up millions of pounds in profit from parking charges last year, figures reveal.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 9:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 1:26 pm
One of the AppyParking scheme parking meters introduced by Harrogate Borough Council.

Parking services in Harrogate raised £2 million in profit in 2018-19, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data.

In response to the statistics, the AA has complained that many councils see drivers as a “wallet on wheels.”

The well-known motoring association, which was first formed in 1905, also accuses some local authorities of using parking fees to plug gaps in their budget.

But Harrogate Borough Council has hit back saying the claims were unfair and ridiculous. It also added that the low price of parking charges in Harrogate proved the argument was a non-starter.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Counci, which won praise for its pioneering AppyParking scheme earlier in the year, said: “The AA’s claim that we view drivers as ‘wallets on wheels’ is utter nonsense.

“In the last nine years, we’ve only increased charges by ten pence, and, in places like Harrogate, it is still possible to park for free just a short walk from the town centre.

“Where someone does have to pay, it costs as little as 50 pence per hour.”

The data provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows that the sum made by Harrogate Borough Council through parking charges was six per cent less than the previous year.

The profits came from off-street parking, such as local authority-run car parks.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels.

“At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool used to try and fill the councils’ coffers. Some of the incomes are eyewatering, so drivers want to see that cash reinvested in local roads to eliminate potholes and poor road markings.”

But Harrogate Borough Council said much of the responsibility for parking lay with North Yorkshire County Council.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said: “We don’t control on-street parking across the district. It is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council.

“The surplus we make from running our car parks is put towards the costs of providing the many local services we know residents value and appreciate.

“We’ve also completely refurbished one of our main multi-storeys in the last year.”

David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils were on the side of motorists and shoppers, and that parking policies aimed to make sure there were spaces available for residents, high streets were kept vibrant and traffic was kept moving.