Parking savings means more to spend on roads
8:42am Thursday 17th January 2013 in Local
THOUSANDS of extra pounds will be spent on Bolton’s roads after improvements to the town’s parking service.
Town Hall chiefs netted £1.157 million in parking charges over the past two years.
In the financial year between April, 2010, and April, 2011, there was a surplus of just £13,232, compared to £91,948 in the following 12 months, an increase of £78,716.
Total money raised comes from multistorey car parks, pay and display on-street parking and parking fines — but Bolton Council bosses insist all of it is ploughed back into improving local roads.
A spokesman said: “Our income has not really changed from 2011 to 2012. We know more people are using multi-storey car parks which have opened in the last few years.
“While the overall income figure for both years is £1.157 million, this figure does not represent a profit.
“All this money goes back into our traffic schemes and improving highways services.
The increased surplus is down to efficiencies and savings made within the service.”
Four of the town centre’s multi-storey car parks have offered free parking over the festive period and well into January.
Car parks at Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon have been free for drivers after 3pm and all weekend until January 27.
Statistics compiled by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found councils in England made more than £411 million in parking charges last year — understood to be an increase of 14.9 per cent. Councils made £358 million in 2010/2011.
The IAM claims that despite profits, the amount figures spent by councils on road safety, education and safe routes to schools, decreased by 18 per cent, from £127.5 million to £105 million.
Revenue spending on highways and transport fell by six per cent between 2010/11 and 2011/12, while capital expenditure on construction and road repairs fell by an estimated 13 per cent.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Councils are making record profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as education for young drivers, cycle training and safe routes to schools.
“And cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will cost more to fix later.”
In this financial year, Bolton Council set aside £1 million to improve local roads.