Drivers pay Â£1.5million in parking charges and fines in just one year in South Tyneside
Council chiefs raked in more than Â£1million for the first time in at least four years from motorists using its car parks, latest figures show.
Drivers forked out £1,020,981 to leave their vehicles in South Tyneside’s 22 chargeable off-street car parks.
And it is those who visited South Shields’ town centre shops and seafront who were hardest hit.
The council also made another £104,000 from people who used on-street pay-and-display bays.
Again, the highest sums were raised close to seafront tourist attractions.
It made a further £211,639 penalising drivers for parking bay infringements, and £237,845 from Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for other roads offences.
The figure for car park parking income for April 2016 to March 2017 is the highest since at least 2013-14 - and show a year-on-year rise.
In 2013-14, the council made £879,233 from its car parks, rising to £920,244 the following year and £949,886 in 2015-16.
When employee and administrative charges are deducted, it made a £546,828 profit on parking and roads penalties.
South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Charges have not increased since 2010 and we have some of the lowest fees in Tyne and Wear with a penny-a-minute rate for the first hour in the majority of our car parks.
“Car parking charges are not set with the aim of making a profit.
“Surplus money from parking revenue is reinvested back into highways and road safety as well as to improve and secure our car parks.
“The fact that this surplus has been achieved without increasing parking charges is an endorsement of our regeneration efforts to attract increasing numbers of people to our towns.”
The borough’s biggest money-spinning car park was Pier Head at South Shields seafront, whose 315 spaces brought in £209,525.
North Street, which has 105 spaces between King Street and River Drive, South Shields, netted £97,336.
And the privately-owned but council operated Garden Lane, near Asda, also South Shields, brought in £92,894.
At Whitburn Bents £30,286, a car park with 80 spaces, drivers were relieved of £30,286.
Visitors to the seafront in South Shields coughed up the most in on-street parking charges, the council’s newly published Annual Parking Review shows.
They paid £46,598 to leave their cars in 68 bays in Beach Road East, £17,038 in 17 bays in Sea Road North, and £12,994 in 48 spots in Beach Road West.
In total, the council has 2,760 car park spaces, which charge at 1p per minute, or up to 80p per hour, or £3 per day.
It also operates 238 on-street bays, priced at the same rates, and has 1,123 free parking bays and 667 resident parking bays.