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Havering Council had the second biggest increase in parking profits in London last year, according to new figures.

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The figures, which were released from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), show that the council raked in £597,000 in 2011/12, an increase of 186 per cent from £209,000 in 2010/11.

The figures come as Havering Council is consulting on introducing parking regulations in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill.

The council claims that the proposals will stop commuters taking advantage of free parking, but the traders claim that the proposals could force customers away from an already struggling shopping district.

Cllr Denis O’Flynn (Lab, Heaton) said: “Parking in Havering has always been very profit motivated and from the council’s perspective it seems to be a case of getting as much out of drivers as they can.

“But their excessive parking charges are just driving people out of Havering.

“Who is going to want to stay in the borough to do their shopping when they have to pay for parking?”

Val Wallace, owner of Flowergirl in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill said: “The shopkeepers in Harold Hill are finding it hard enough to make ends meet, these plans from the council just mean that they are penalising traders and residents.

“It shows that the council cares more about making a profit than helping people.”

Last year, the council gave the go ahead to car parking charges in Upminster, Cottons and Lodge Farm Parks, despite opposition from councillors and residents.

The figures cover profits, after expenditure from both on and off-street parking, including fines.

The biggest increase in parking profits was in Kingston upon Thames, which saw its earnings soar by 320 per cent from £842,000 in 2010/11 to £3.53million in 2011/12.

Barking and Dagenham saw its profits rise from 174 per cent from £572,000 in 2010/11 to £1.57 million in 2011/12.

The top earning borough was Westminster, which made £38million, followed by Kensington and Chelsea with £27.5million and Camden Council which made £25million.

Cllr Barry Tebbutt, cabinet member for Streetcare said that the money is reinvested into the borough.

He said: “All income from parking charges are reinvested back into making improvements in the borough. This could include our safer routes to school schemes, street cleaning or highways and lighting maintenance.

“Over the last few years we have introduced more on and off-street parking with charges as low as 20p in some areas for up to two hours parking.

“Our car park charges haven’t increased, they have been frozen for a number of years. Charges need to be in place to prevent commuter parking blocking bays in residential and high street areas and having an adverse effect on local residents and businesses.”

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