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Vale Cabinet set to consider options to address parking deficit

Released on July 30, 2020

Cabinet members at Vale of White Horse District Council will next week consider a range of options which could help the council to address the significant annual deficit facing its car parks.

The car parks, in Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage, collectively cost more than £700,000 a year to run. Once the income from parking fees has been taken into account, there is an average shortfall of over £300,000 a year, which is currently subsidised annually by residents’ council tax.

In the last nine years the net cost of parking in the district was approximately £2.2 million, which has been financed through council funds, including residents’ council tax.  A central government grant, based mainly on new homes being built in the district, was first received in 2011 and this has been used, in part, to offset some of the burden on taxpayers.  However, this grant is currently being phased out and will not be available to help subsidise the cost of parking from 2023/24.

As part of a review into the council’s overall parking policy, officers have put forward a number of options they believe could improve the financial management of its car parks, along with other proposals to make the service more efficient to run and to serve the district as a whole better.

Cabinet will look at these recommendations in detail at its meeting on Friday 7 August. Depending on the decision taken, there may be a public consultation in the Autumn to give people the opportunity to have their say on any proposals that Cabinet take forward.

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, said:

“One of our top priorities is to get the Council’s finances back in shape. That makes it hard for us to keep subsidising car parks when COVID-19 has already added to the financial pressure we are under. However, we also know this is a difficult time for many local businesses and residents, so we want to hear their views on the best way to achieve this before we put a firm proposal forward.”

 “We will take a very honest look at what each option might mean for the council and our district, particularly any potential impact on residents and businesses, before making any decisions. Any options we agree to take forward may require formal consultation, but we would welcome any initial thoughts on all the proposals set out in the paper ahead of 7 August. The paper is available on our website now and you can drop us a line with any thoughts you have to”

“Some of the proposals Cabinet will be considering will also help us in meeting our future aspirations for the district. We are currently in the process of developing our new corporate plan, which will set out what we want to achieve for the district over the next four years. While that’s in development, we’re taking every opportunity to include measures where we can that will contribute to these aspirations – for example, the review of our parking policies was an opportunity for us to include electric vehicle incentives and provide us with the flexibility to actively support zero-emission vehicles. If approved, these changes will support our priorities to address the climate emergency and improve air quality.”

“You can still also have your say on our draft corporate plan via our online survey.”

Click here to read the full Car Park Fees and Charges Report that Cabinet will consider , including the options that officers have put forward – if you have any feedback please email your thoughts to