Top earning car parks in North Devon and Torridge revealed

Pay and Display sign

Pay and Display sign - Credit: Archant

Councils earn more than £3 million a year in off-street parking as new figures are revealed to the Gazette.

NEW figures have revealed the top earning car parks which help make up a total of more than £3 million a year in North Devon and Torridge.

The figures obtained by the Gazette show that North Devon Council earns an average of around £2.5 million a year from 36 car parks, and Torridge a total of around £800,000 from 22 car parks.

The highest earning car park in North Devon was the Cattle Market in Barnstaple, which raked in £600,000 last year - approximately a quarter of the total for the district.

In Torridge, Westward Ho!’s main car park brought in the most money last year, with a total of around £84,000, overtaking Manor car park in Holsworthy which was the highest earner in 2011 and 2010.

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Steve Hearse, joint head of financial services, said a proportion of the pay and display income the councils received contributed to the running of the car parks.

He said: “The excess of income over expenditure of around £1.25 million for North Devon feeds into the council’s general budget for all the services we provide.”

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The council did see a decline in revenue from 2011/12 to 2012/13 of around £100,000, but Diana Hill, head of property and technical services at North Devon, added: “Revenue across most of our car parks has slightly dropped over the last 12 months, which is a similar situation for other Devon districts.

“This could be put down to the general downturn in the local economy which not only reduces the number of vehicles using car parks but also encourages people to park in cheaper long stay sites.

“The weather is also a huge factor, especially in the summer, but last year we also experienced poor weather and flooding during the busy run up to Christmas.

“However, there are other things to take into account which affected 2012/13. These included closure and demolition of Queen Street multi-storey car park which started in mid February 2012, with the smaller Hardaway Head car park opening in its place in early October 2012.

“There was also reduced parking from mid September onwards at Pier car park in Ilfracombe, to allow for the installation of Verity.”

Councillor Chris Leather, lead member for car parks at Torridge, said the council had also seen a year-on-year decline in revenue.

“The down turn in the economy associated with increased pressures on personal finances, the cost of fuel, increased VAT and the dismal summers we have experienced over the last three or four years have all contributed to the reduction in income,” he said.

“Not to mention that in 2011 we introduced free parking from Saturday midday through to 8am Monday on the Pill, Bideford, The Manor, Holsworthy and Sydney House, Torrington.’’

The news comes after an RAC Foundation report published today (Thursday) revealed councils in England had a total account surplus of £565 million from on and off street parking.

The report showed Devon County Council received £594,000 from its parking operations last year, ranking it the 189th earner in the country.

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