Council makes more than �4m in car parking fees in Norwich

Car parking charges and fines helped generate almost �4.5m for Norwich City Council last year, according to new figures.

Leaders last night denied that they were profiteering from parking fees following figures obtained by the Evening News under a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The data shows that Norwich City Council received almost �4.5m from its car parks in the 2010/11 financial year and spent just over �300,000 on maintenance and improvements.

And the 1,000-space St Andrews car park in the city, which opened six years ago, generates almost half of the city council's off-street parking revenue. The multi-storey car park, which cost more than �9m to build, generated just over �2m in 2010/11 and the previous year.

Council-run pay and display sites across Norfolk and Waveney brought in �11.7m of revenue, whilst �1.2m was spent on car park maintenance and improvements, according to the figures.

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for planning and transportation at Norwich City Council, said any profits from parking were used for the benefit of the city. He added that the authority was still paying off loans on the St Andrews car park.

'We have 17pc of the off-street car parks in the city and we have to be very careful about pricing.'

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'We do not want to put people off from coming into the city by over pricing the workers, shoppers and tourists and we are very conscious that there is a delicate balance. We certainly want to keep Norwich a vibrant and commercial centre,' he said.

Great Yarmouth received �1.2m in parking charges and fees in 2010/11 whilst almost �100,000 was spent on maintenance and improvements.

Charles Reynolds, chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's car parking strategy steering group, said the authority reviewed parking charges every year and fees had not changed this year.

'Parking charges are a very big issue and we have to find a fine balance between the income that is needed to support local services and local people, but must not be too high to put people off from coming into the area to spend their hard-earned money.'

'Our policy in Yarmouth is that we are car friendly. We do everything we can to make sure charges are as low as they can be. No one can deny that it is a significant income, but it keeps council tax down and provides the money needed for services,' he said.

South Norfolk Council made �236,734 in pay and display charges last year and spent �46,311 on maintenance.

Leader John Fuller said charges had not changed since a new charging system was introduced in 2009.

'When we came into power there was a �2m maintenance backlog. This was addressed. We now have lower maintenance costs but the surplus helps payback the upgrade costs. There is no profiteering. The maintenance plus staffing and repayments are covered by the charges. It's break-even really,' he said.

Breckland Council and Broadland District Council do not charge for off-street parking.