24th Feb, 2020

Decline in Solihull car park users puts budget in the red

John Carlon 17th Jan, 2020 Updated: 20th Jan, 2020

COUNCIL reserves could bail out its car parks, as Solihull had fewer shoppers buying parking tickets last year.

Fewer shoppers parking in the borough reduced revenue by £320,000, but the council made £170,000 over the year,

Officers blamed out-of-town retail and internet shopping for a shortfall in Solihull’s car parks budget.

A report to the highways board said there were fewer visitors and shorter stays than the council had expected at the start of 2019.

The drop-off in Solihull’s shoppers cost the borough £320,000.

Long term parking leases for town centre offices brought in  but this was not enough to reach a £4 million target for car parks and traffic enforcement, leading to a shortfall of £250,000.

Council parking manager Carl Newman told councillors his department’s financial situation would become worse given plans to support sustainable transport such as buses and cycling.

Parking services is now deemed a severe financial risk to the council.

Reserves in the highways budget could put £125,000 into the car parks ‘in light of the disappointing financial position.’

Money collected from fines would put £75,000 back into the service, with £50,000 left over from the car parks maintenance budget.

Three bus lane camera’s earned £38,000 in revenue for the council in 2019 – the most lucrative, Lode Lane Southbound, caught 246 drivers.

The Warwick Road Bus Gate and another camera on Lode Lane both snared 76 drivers each, but four penalties were cancelled due to ‘mitigating circumstances.’

A charge for driving in a bus lane is £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within a fortnight).

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