Only 17% buy a car park ticket

Monday February 25th 2019

Longniddry Bents

Written by Local Democracy reporter, Marie Sharp

Fewer than one in five vehicles visiting fee-charging coastal car parks in East Lothian buy a ticket, a new report has confirmed.

A review of East Lothian Council’s coastal car park ticket system has revealed that only 17 per cent of those who go there pay for a ticket.

It points out that a high number of those not paying can be attributed to season ticket holders but admits: “There remains substantial leakage within the system.”

The review, which will be presented to the local authority’s policy and performance review committee next week, says that “further measures to control parking and gather the parking charge are being considered”. It does not give details of what those measures are.

The council first moved towards introducing the charges in 10 of its beach car parks in 2012 and finally introduced the £2 a day charge in 2015. A £40 season pass is also available.

The review acknowledges that the income from the car parks is well below the original estimate, when the business case suggested it would bring in £500,000 in its first year and by 2018/19 would be generating income of more than £600,000.

The report to councillors revealed that since its introduction in July 2015 to January this year the total income after VAT was £543,957. Of that it was estimated £156,820 came from season ticket sales.

However, the review also revealed that when the charges were first introduced, surplus cash generated was earmarked for coastal improvements.

This changed when the council applied to bring in its own parking wardens and decriminalise parking offences in the county in 2017.

The review revealed that £55,000 of annual income from coastal car park charges was included in the business case for the new wardens.

And it warned that this sum was now “categorically necessary” to ensure the future of the parking wardens which were introduced as a result, suggesting the charges could not be scrapped now, even if councillors wanted to do that.

It said: “[The £55,000] was not originally anticipated within the original coastal car parking business case but does clearly make a positive contribution/impact upon wider parking enforcement.”

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