Havering Council rakes in almost £2million in parking surplus

Motorists face a rise in parking charges in Upminster and across Havering

Motorists face a rise in parking charges in Upminster and across Havering - Credit: Archant

A new study has shown parking charges from the local authority have generated almost £2million in profit over the last year.

The study carried out by motoring charity the RAC Foundation shows Havering Council jumped from £411,000 in 2014/15 to £1.9million for 2015/16.

Across England, councils have generated £756million, with the 33 London councils accounting for 44 per cent of the country’s total.

London regional chair for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Steve Warwick, said: “Over half [51pc] of FSB London members say that parking costs have a significant impact on the success of their businesses.”

Explaining the huge hike, a council spokesman said: “This increase was expected following a number of specific actions at the start of the 2015/16 financial year.”

Changes to parking tariff, in April last year, raised the minimum charge from 20p to £1 and 2015/16 was the first year the council used camera cars to issue penalty notices to drivers flouting bus lane and turn restrictions.

Following Westminster’s prohibition of camera cars to enforce ordinary parking offences, the council doubled the number of civil enforcement officers (CEOs).

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Havering Chamber of Commerce chairman, Barry Hicks said: “Parking is such a contentious issue, you cannot please everybody. I’m hoping with all the regeneration in Havering its one of the things the council looks at again.

“It might not come down but hopefully it won’t go up again.”

Out of 353 councils, Havering ranked as the 96th highest surplus council.

In comparison, Barking and Dagenham positioned 62nd with £2.8million for 2014/15 and £3.1million for 2015/16, Redbridge rated 59th with £3million for 2014/15 and £3.4million and Newham came 19th with £7.3million for 2014/15 and £7.6million for 2014/16.

“At £1.9million Havering’s surplus is still among the lowest in London and far less than many similar outer London boroughs,” continued the spokesman.

“This surplus must be reinvested in parking control measures or highways improvements and recent improvements have included body cameras for CEOs, new parking machines in car parks, resurfacing of some car parks and the installation of fixed cameras to support the enforcement of moving traffic contraventions.”

According to the charity, a Freedom of Information request showed at least nine London boroughs had not introduced any free parking measures for December to encourage customers to shop locally during the festive period.

“Angel Way car park in central Romford will be specially open on Sunday and all parking in that car park will be free on that day,” continued the spokesman.

“Also we will not be enforcing parking restrictions on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day so that could be helpful for residents having family and friends visiting.”

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