Parking overhaul to save £300,000 a year
PARKING could fall into the hands of “ruthless” private companies as part of budget cutting county council plans to save £300,000 per year.
Warwickshire county council cabinet are due to discuss a report proposing changing the way on street parking is delivered as part of cutbacks.
Currently on street and residential parking enforcement is carried out locally by three of the five borough and district councils on behalf of the county council.
But the county is now considering just one body to take over the job for the entire county - meaning one district council or private firm will have full responsibility for Warwickshire’s streets.
Ian Coker from Warwick District Council highways department said tenders were still ‘a long way off’ but that if the move goes ahead, there would be no savings for taxpayers as the district council would still have to manage costly off street parking.
He explained that on and off street services are currently managed together meaning a saving can be made, but to continue to run car parks alone would still cost around £200,000 a year.
The council makes more money from Pay and Display fees than collecting fines.
Cllr Dave Shilton (Con, Parkhill), portfolio holder for parking, said the move would have a “negative impact on the economic viability of town centres” and could cost them more in the long term.
“This is a very worrying proposal and I am very concerned that it will drive people away from our towns,” he said. “It could be very costly and simply shifting funding from one area to another.
“Our hands are tied, no-one wins here, the county wants to save money but it will simply cost the district and boroughs. It makes no sense.”
“To lose parking enforcement to a private company would be very worrying. We give a little bit of grace with parking but that will be lost as some of these companies are ruthless.”
Cllr Michael Coker, (Con, Abbey) said relying on fines to generate income would have “serious effects” on the whole district and warned against encouraging any body from aggressive parking enforcement.
A county council spokesperson said the proposed scheme would save £3000,000 each year and give “greater control of the service”.
He said district and borough councils “expressed a desire to continue” with the current model and do not feel the service should be subject to competitive tendering.
“The proposed model will not only result in cost savings but provide WCC with greater control of the service.”
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