Council receives £3.5m from parking fees and charges across district

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 September 2019

North Somerset Council has accrued hundreds of thousands in parking fines. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

North Somerset Council has accrued hundreds of thousands in parking fines. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Millions of pounds were accrued in parking fines and charges by North Somerset Council in the past year, a Times investigation has revealed.

North Somerset Councillor Mark Canniford.

Picture: MARK ATHERTONNorth Somerset Councillor Mark Canniford. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The authority, which owns several car parks across the district and is responsible for enforcing on-street regulations, raised more than £3million through its meters and wardens in 2018/19.

Meters at North Somerset's off-street car parks collected a whopping £2,431,279 in 2018/19, and motorists who overstayed their welcome or parked illegally in the council's car parks were issued with penalty charge notices tallying £103,693.

A further £681,544 was raised through on-street parking charges in Weston, where the vast majority of roads in the town centre are subject to pay-and-display restrictions.

North Somerset's wardens dished out fines totalling £509,678 for on-street offences in 2018/19, and since the authority took control of on-street enforcement from police in 2017 more than £1million has been raised in penalties.

The figures were obtained via a freedom of information request to the council over its parking policies, which have been much criticised in recent years.

Businesses have complained over inflexibility of the regulations, while motorists have criticised wardens' demeanour.

Mark Canniford, the council's executive member for business, said: "There 
is a difference between what we got through fines and 
the money we gain from fines.

"We did not make £1million in fines. The collection process is expensive. We have to pay for the organisation and the paperwork and the wardens.

"If people are parking illegally I don't have an issue with the fines, however the new administration feels there needs to be a sort of charter between the council and motorists.

"Wardens must not be rude or aggressive, but that needs to be vice versa as well. It's not the warden who broke the rules, it's the driver. There has to be some give and take with this."

The authority, since the local elections in May, has re-launched a review of its parking policies, headed by Weston Hillside councillor John Crockford-Hawley.

Cllr Canniford added: "John will be looking at yellow lines and whether we need them where they are, but that's a big piece of work which is going to take two years to do."

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