UPDATED: District council reels in £600k profit from car parking

A pay and display machine in Buckingham Street Car park in Aylesbury
A pay and display machine in Buckingham Street Car park in Aylesbury

Aylesbury Vale District Council made more than £600,000 from car parking charges during 2011/2012, according to new figures.

The RAC Foundation statistics indicated that the council increased its profit by £211,000 (53.6%) from the previous year (2010/11) to its latest figure of £604,000.

Cabinet member for civic amenities Brian Roberts said: “You have to remember the old Civic Centre, Exchange Street and Canalside car parks were out of action for quite some time (in 2011). They distort the figures quite considerably.”

The 359 councils across England had a total surplus of £565 million with Aylesbury ranked 186. With capital projects such as fixing potholes or traffic schemes subtracted from the surplus the total profit for all councils still stood at £412m.

Collectively it represented a £54m increase on income from the previous year and local government secretary Eric Pickles has now called on councils to stop making money from charges to help boost town centre economy.

Mr Roberts added: “We have not put our car park charges up for 18 months and we don’t have any plans to. We are not ripping people off. Our car parking charges compared with other towns are in some cases much cheaper.

“I don’t think lowering the fees would make much difference. Mr Pickles is bashing us over the head with a stick from one direction and then he’s bashing us over the head with a bigger stick from another direction.

“You can’t have free car parks because people then block them up all day and then shops don’t get any shoppers. You must keep car park traffic turning over without ripping people off.”

Nationwide it is expected council money from parking services will increase from £601m in 2012/13 to £635m in 2013/14.

View the full RAC Foundation figures for all councils here