Questions, questions 2: Residents' Parking Zones

Lib Dem Mark Wright has picked up on some points raised by The Blogger over on Charlie Bolton’s blog regarding the finances of the proposed Residents’ Parking Zones for wealthier inner city areas.

Council officers have been selling the scheme very hard as “revenue neutral”. Basically they’re claiming that the scheme will simply cover its costs and not make any money for the council.

However a brief glance at the council officers’ costings reveals that £800,000 of the money generated from the zones for the first five years will go to paying off the cost of setting up the scheme.

So what happens to this money after five years? Will the council slash the charges to keep the scheme revenue neutral? Or will they sneakily pocket the money hoping, five years down the line, we’ll have forgotten all about it?

The costings presented by officers also reveal a further £177,000 of income a year from the scheme that officers have blithely allocated to pay for park and ride services. So basically a tax is being levied on inner city residents to fund transport subsidies for suburban residents.

This actually means that a scheme that officers have claimed is “revenue neutral” will actually earn almost £1m every year.

And they wonder why we don’t believe a word they say.

Here’s some of the questions Wright will be asking Labour’s transport numpty, Mark Bradshaw. We’ll let you know the replies in due course.

Q1. The currently proposed increased permit charges of £40 and £200 (from £30 and £60) yield an extra £180k p/a (using the spreadsheet in the Cabinet paper, item 9, appendix 4). This neatly balances the £177k p/a cost of the commuter Park & Ride that
has been added to the scheme by the Labour Cabinet. What is the Exec Member’s justification for making city-centre residents subsidise suburban commuters?

Q2. Is it expected that Park & Ride will pay for itself in due course, or will it continue to need subsidy from the Residents’ Parking Zone?

Q3. The break-even costings of the CPZ include £803k p/a “Implementation costs repayment”. This should disappear after 5 years when the implementation costs are paid off. What then will happen to the extra £803k p/a?

Q4. The report notes “Enhanced public transport and Park and Ride services are to be developed to provide alternatives for commuters as ring fenced funds allow.” Is even more money from residents in central areas going to subsidise suburban commuters in future?

Q5. What transport improvements are being considered that would help the residents who actually paid the money?

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