Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

PS1.7m Paid by Drivers a 'Cash Cow'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

PS1.7m Paid by Drivers a 'Cash Cow'

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@reachplc.com

DRIVERS paid around PS1.7m in parking charges over the past year in Middlesbrough and Stockton.

As town centres struggle, the AA says charges are a "cash cow" for local authorities, and a stealth tax paid by drivers. Drivers paid Middlesbrough Council PS977,000 in on-street parking charges in 2017-18, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data.

Parking services raised PS734,000 in revenue in Stockton.

This includes pay-and-display parking, residents' permits and parking tickets in both areas. Almost a quarter of this income was raised through penalty charges for illegal parking.

The amount of revenue raised is not all profit for the councils - for example, the profit made by Stockton was only PS274,000 while it was PS414,000 in Middlesbrough.

Overall, drivers in Middlesbrough paid an average of PS7 per year in parking charges while Stockton drivers paid PS4 per year.

It's been claimed that both town centres are in a fragile state as a big name high street retailers struggle.

Bosses at the biggest shopping centres in Middlesbrough have warned against the development of new shops at Middlehaven, warning it could seriously affect footfall in the town centre. And Stockton Council turned down an application for a new TJ Hughes store at Portrack Lane, saying it would spell trouble for its High Street.

But both councils have defended their parking policies.

Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for economic development and infrastructure, said the centre is the "engine room" of Middlesbrough, at the heart of the council's ambitious plans for economic and social regeneration.

"In terms of parking, on the back of an independent review of our offer, we recently agreed a number of changes to how we operate. …

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