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Cost of residential parking permits a ‘postcode lottery’Back

parking-permitSome park for free while others pay more than £200 a year, Freedom of Information requests find

  • Councils make an average of £291,000 a year from residential parking permits
  • Residents of the City of London pay £360 a year
  • Many councils did not say how the money raised from parking permits is spent

The price of parking your car near your home ranges from nothing at all to hundreds of pounds per year, depending on where you live – and even residents of the same city often find themselves paying wildly different amounts.

These are the findings of a series of Freedom of Information requests made to councils around the country on behalf of Trusted Dealers, which revealed that some motorists are paying upwards of £200 a year in residential parking permits, generating an average of £291,000 for local authorities.

The highest price for a residential permit was in the City of London, where motorists can expect to hand over £360 a year: although this dropped to just £50 for electric vehicles. The City of Westminster charges £141 for vehicles with the largest engine sizes, although eco vehicles can get a free permit if proof of credentials is supplied.

Birmingham had some of the highest variations in parking permit price. In many areas, drivers pay just £16 a year to park residentially, which is within the typical range of costs charged by local authorities – however, residents of the Jewellery Quarter face annual charges of £210.

It’s not just in major urban centres that motorists face a parking postcode lottery. For instance, people in West Somerset pay just £8 for their annual permit, compared with £35 for their neighbours in Taunton Dean and South Somerset.

Meanwhile, Fife Council provides free permits to those living in Kirkcaldy, Kincardine, Inverkeithing, Cairneyhill and Burntisland, but charges £90 to those in St Andrews and Dunfermline. In Lancashire, people living in Clitheroe pay £40 for a residential permit, while those in Lytham pay just £5.

Other councils charging relatively high prices for residential permits include Surrey Heath (£100), Cheshire West and Chester (£60), Maidstone (£40) and Torridge (£60). The FOI requests also asked authorities how they spend the money raised from these schemes – some did not say where the money goes, while others said they use it to offset the cost of council tax or that it is reinvested into road parking schemes.

“The price of residential parking may pale in comparison to the price of petrol, but it’s still an additional burden for motorists to bear, and this data shows some are counting the cost of living in certain areas,” said Neil Addley, Managing Director at Trusted Dealers. “It seems unfair that in some cases, the money raised from permit schemes is used to offset council tax, implying that motorists in these jurisdictions are paying over the odds – and for a privilege that some would say ought to be free.”

Posted by Paul Carpenter on 20/06/2014