Parking rakes in £7.5m for councils

Bicester Advertiser: Motorists have criticised the cost of parking in Oxford Motorists have criticised the cost of parking in Oxford

MOTORISTS have condemned the high cost of parking in Oxford and the county after the city council made a £4.56m surplus in 12 months.

New figures reveal the county’s local authorities raised a total of £7.52m in the 2012-13 financial year from fines and parking charges, after running costs are taken into consideration.

During the last financial year, Oxford City Council brought in 15 per cent more than in 2010-11.

And it is now ranked 32nd out of 353 in a list of the councils making the highest surplus, according to data calculated by the RAC Foundation through annual returns submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Parking in city council car parks costs almost £25 a day.

Oxfordshire County Council had a £1.49m surplus in 2012-13 – the second highest-rated authority in the county. The others ranked much lower, with West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils recording a deficit.

Motorists are not impressed – especially after new park-and-ride charges to get the bus into the city from Water Eaton and Thornhill.

Karen Rossiter, of Harcourt Hill, Oxford, said: “Oxford is one of the most expensive places to park and it really annoys me.”

Graham Jones, of traders’ group ROX, said of the city: “If the council reduced the charges and got the Westgate full, they would bring more people, which would help the local economy and they could still make the same surplus.

“The council has a duty to look after the local economy and you don’t do that by deterring people from coming here and spending their money.”

Bob Price, the leader of the city council, defended the cost of parking as part of a deliberate strategy to discourage people from driving into Oxford.

Mr Price said: “Our parking charges reflect the long-term strategy to try to reduce the amount of car traffic in the centre.

“We have developed park-and-ride facilities to try to encourage people to come in by other methods.

“And the money we collect from charges is ploughed back into other services to give a degree of protection against the cuts in Government grants.”

West Oxfordshire District Council is one of only two in Oxfordshire which made a deficit from its parking in the last full financial year – and is the only one which regularly loses money.

District councillor David Harvey, cabinet member for the environment, said the policy of providing free parking was important for the economy of the area.

He said: “We remain committed to providing free parking as this supports residents and retailers as well as being a huge attraction for shoppers and visitors to our towns.”

The figures have been calculated by the RAC by adding income from charges and penalty notices for both on-street and off-street parking, then deducting running costs.

Some district councils, such as Oxford, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse, are not responsible for on-street parking and have no costs or income relating to it.

Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for enforcing on-street parking in Oxford and West Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Police is responsible for the rest of the county’s on-street parking.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “Legislation requires that surpluses derived from enforcement are reinvested into environmental or traffic schemes or operations.

“The vast majority of the income that the county council derives from enforcement has been utilised to operate and improve the park-and-ride sites that it operates.”

South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse, which share many of their services, said they took a broader view than simply looking at running and staffing costs.

A spokesman for the two councils said: “South Oxfordshire already has one-hour free parking in most of its car parks and in 2012 introduced free parking on Saturday afternoons and also half-price season tickets in order to help boost trade in towns across the district.

“The council sets the fees and charges each year so the income at least covers the expenditure.”

A spokesman for Cherwell District Council disputed the figures.

A spokesman for Cherwell District Council said it was incorrect to say the authority’s surplus wa nil.

He said: “The RAC report didn’t take account of the change in accounting procedure. That’s why it shows up as nil.

“For previous returns the figures were under another heading (external trading accounts).

“The figures for 2011-12 were £1.534m, £1.381m for 2010-11 and £1.592m for 2009-10.”

VIEWS

Bicester Advertiser:

“Parking is ridiculously expensive and I’ve got no confidence the councils will use that money sensibly.”
Lesley Thatcher, of Fairlie Road, Cowley

Bicester Advertiser:

“I’ve been to London where you can pay £9 for 24 hours. Compared to that, Oxford is dreadful. I think parking should be free, then people would support the shops more.”
Liam Carroll, of Templay Road, Cutteslowe

Bicester Advertiser:

“It is expensive for just a short period of time. If you want to use the park-and-ride you get stung twice, once to park and then to get the bus.”
Tim Stead, of Church Road, Radley

Bicester Advertiser:

“I tend to get the bus in from the park-and- ride, but they charge to park there as well. You go to other places and there is free parking or it’s just £1.20. In Oxford it’s ridiculous.”
Karen Rossiter, of Harcourt Hill, Oxford

Comments (11)

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9:51am Mon 20 Jan 14

camden says...

Anyone with any sense would not shop in Oxford. I like thousands of others travel to Reading or Milton Keynes or Swindon or Gloucester, these and many others are places that offer a 21st century shopping experience Modern shopping centres alongside plenty of reasonably priced parking.
Anyone with any sense would not shop in Oxford. I like thousands of others travel to Reading or Milton Keynes or Swindon or Gloucester, these and many others are places that offer a 21st century shopping experience Modern shopping centres alongside plenty of reasonably priced parking. camden
  • Score: -85

10:07am Mon 20 Jan 14

Oflife says...

“And the money we collect from charges is ploughed back into other services to give a degree of protection against the cuts in Government grants.”
- BS! Oxford has been ripping off motorists for years!

I visit various towns and other than the covered market, Oxford has the worst shopping experience of any. (Hopefully not once Westgate is re-developed.) It's a left wing hell that is only worth visiting for the historical buildings, parks and pubs. If they want to fix parking, build a huge free underground car park under the Westgate area with traffic funneled from Abingdon Road, and fund it from sales tax. Isn't that what it's for?
“And the money we collect from charges is ploughed back into other services to give a degree of protection against the cuts in Government grants.” - BS! Oxford has been ripping off motorists for years! I visit various towns and other than the covered market, Oxford has the worst shopping experience of any. (Hopefully not once Westgate is re-developed.) It's a left wing hell that is only worth visiting for the historical buildings, parks and pubs. If they want to fix parking, build a huge free underground car park under the Westgate area with traffic funneled from Abingdon Road, and fund it from sales tax. Isn't that what it's for? Oflife
  • Score: -78

10:09am Mon 20 Jan 14

samsquirrel says...

"Bob Price, the leader of the city council, defended the cost of parking as part of a deliberate strategy to discourage people from driving into Oxford.

Mr Price said: “Our parking charges reflect the long-term strategy to try to reduce the amount of car traffic in the centre.

“We have developed park-and-ride facilities to try to encourage people to come in by other methods."

If parking charges are to discourage people from driving to Oxford then why charge at P&R? This is surely discouraging people from using them as they are no longer a cheaper alternative!
"Bob Price, the leader of the city council, defended the cost of parking as part of a deliberate strategy to discourage people from driving into Oxford. Mr Price said: “Our parking charges reflect the long-term strategy to try to reduce the amount of car traffic in the centre. “We have developed park-and-ride facilities to try to encourage people to come in by other methods." If parking charges are to discourage people from driving to Oxford then why charge at P&R? This is surely discouraging people from using them as they are no longer a cheaper alternative! samsquirrel
  • Score: -80

10:13am Mon 20 Jan 14

Gunslinger says...

Unfortunately the Councils have got hooked on using parking as a source of general income to subsidise other services; it's now difficult to get off that addiction without massive cuts to services, and the government won't let them put up council tax by more than 2%.
The so called ring fencing of parking income is a myth; it doesn't apply to Oxford City, and in the county's case the things they are spending it on should normally be funded out of general council tax income, so the council tax money saved is then directed to other services..
To be fair, the County Council did try to cut back on this 5 years ago, but in the end austerity has caught up with them.
Unfortunately the Councils have got hooked on using parking as a source of general income to subsidise other services; it's now difficult to get off that addiction without massive cuts to services, and the government won't let them put up council tax by more than 2%. The so called ring fencing of parking income is a myth; it doesn't apply to Oxford City, and in the county's case the things they are spending it on should normally be funded out of general council tax income, so the council tax money saved is then directed to other services.. To be fair, the County Council did try to cut back on this 5 years ago, but in the end austerity has caught up with them. Gunslinger
  • Score: -87

10:41am Mon 20 Jan 14

the wizard says...

The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do.
The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer..
The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do. The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer.. the wizard
  • Score: -56

11:15am Mon 20 Jan 14

jonny1976 says...

There are loads of places to park in Oxford or free.... but im not telling anyone because im mean
There are loads of places to park in Oxford or free.... but im not telling anyone because im mean jonny1976
  • Score: -90

11:55am Mon 20 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

the wizard wrote:
The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do.
The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer..
It would be great if every political party worked together to publish a formal and agreed 10 & 25 year political-neutral "business plan" for the city.

Each individual party could then publish their own party 10&25 "business plan" for the city.

The parties would pay themselves for an independent auditor to review their implementation against plans...
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do. The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer..[/p][/quote]It would be great if every political party worked together to publish a formal and agreed 10 & 25 year political-neutral "business plan" for the city. Each individual party could then publish their own party 10&25 "business plan" for the city. The parties would pay themselves for an independent auditor to review their implementation against plans... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -4

1:15pm Mon 20 Jan 14

museli says...

It's a win/win situation really (or at least a lose less/lose less) - as Bob Price rightly says it's necessary to reduce traffic in Oxford and higher parking prices should put a few people off, meanwhile the cash may go some small way to reducing the effect of cuts imposed by the government. I don't see what the problem is!
It's a win/win situation really (or at least a lose less/lose less) - as Bob Price rightly says it's necessary to reduce traffic in Oxford and higher parking prices should put a few people off, meanwhile the cash may go some small way to reducing the effect of cuts imposed by the government. I don't see what the problem is! museli
  • Score: 14

3:12pm Mon 20 Jan 14

bart-on simpson says...

Agree with museli.

Is the £2 at Thornhill Park and Ride excessive and put anyone off parking? £1.30 for 2 hours at Windmill Road?

It's the water level and the dreadful state of London Road that will eventually do for driving into Oxford.
Agree with museli. Is the £2 at Thornhill Park and Ride excessive and put anyone off parking? £1.30 for 2 hours at Windmill Road? It's the water level and the dreadful state of London Road that will eventually do for driving into Oxford. bart-on simpson
  • Score: 8

6:00pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Oflife says...

the wizard wrote:
The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do.
The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer..
Spot on!
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: The City Council have no idea of traffic management so their answer is to price the motorist and consumer out of the City, sending people elsewhere because they don't have the first clue of what to do. The fault lays with traffic management, or rather lack of it, because there is no effective infra structure in place through neglect over the years. No significant improvements have been made for at least 50 years. By now there should have been at least one major relief road out of the city centre, probably from Oxpens, over the railway and canal to the south of the Botley Road, all the way out to the A34. Large Multi storey car parks to deal with the shoppers and light rail into the centre. Imagination is what is needed and the will to succeed with ambitious projects like other cities do, which is why Oxford and its traffic problems have become a very costly laughing stock. Those responsible should be replaced by clear thinking people with drive and determination that do not take NO for an answer..[/p][/quote]Spot on! Oflife
  • Score: -74

9:31am Tue 21 Jan 14

Gunslinger says...

Agree with Oflife, there has been a lack of strategic planning going back several decades. In particular the object of managing and controlling traffic movements within the city centre itself has become confused with the object of keeping traffic out altogether, at whatever cost, and conveniently using this policy to justify a cash cow approach to charging.
Compare the approach to that of Reading (historically, never a particularly car friendly town). The 1990's saw the development of the Oracle shopping and entertainment complex with ample if expensive car parking, and the construction of the A33 relief road alongside the Kennet flood plain to reach it and open up other semi-brownfield areas for development.
The equivalent in Oxford would be direct links along the railway corridor to the A34, paralleling the Botley and Abingdon roads, and full redevelopment of the Westgate and surrounding areas (rather than the 'lite' Westgate project that has been rumbling on for years). This would have involved little or no demolition of existing residential properties, and could also have combined comprehensive flood alleviation measures, such as a flood relief channel similar to that between Windsor and Slough, also constructed in the 1990's.
Sadly, Oxford has probably missed the boat now as a commercial centre and is condemned to a process of genteel decay, egged on by its ivory tower academics and green ideallists.
Agree with Oflife, there has been a lack of strategic planning going back several decades. In particular the object of managing and controlling traffic movements within the city centre itself has become confused with the object of keeping traffic out altogether, at whatever cost, and conveniently using this policy to justify a cash cow approach to charging. Compare the approach to that of Reading (historically, never a particularly car friendly town). The 1990's saw the development of the Oracle shopping and entertainment complex with ample if expensive car parking, and the construction of the A33 relief road alongside the Kennet flood plain to reach it and open up other semi-brownfield areas for development. The equivalent in Oxford would be direct links along the railway corridor to the A34, paralleling the Botley and Abingdon roads, and full redevelopment of the Westgate and surrounding areas (rather than the 'lite' Westgate project that has been rumbling on for years). This would have involved little or no demolition of existing residential properties, and could also have combined comprehensive flood alleviation measures, such as a flood relief channel similar to that between Windsor and Slough, also constructed in the 1990's. Sadly, Oxford has probably missed the boat now as a commercial centre and is condemned to a process of genteel decay, egged on by its ivory tower academics and green ideallists. Gunslinger
  • Score: -83

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