Revealed: How much money did Havering Council make from car parking charges last year?
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:51 09 January 2020
Havering Council made more than £400,000 from its car parks in the first financial quarter of 2018/19.
New parking fees were introduced in June starting from £1.50 in Hornchurch and Upminster.
The parking changes were part of the council's proposal to invest £40million over four years to improve roads and pavements in the borough, but the loss of 30 minutes free parking was heavily contested by residents who feared it would negatively impact businesses in the town centres.
Peter North submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out more about the council's revenue from its car parks. He said he noticed he was choosing to shop less in Hornchurch and Upminster as it would cost him £1.50 to park for a couple of minutes.
Councillor Osman Dervish, Havering's cabinet member for environment, said: "The figures given in the FOI response are only for quarter one and as the new parking charges only came into force from June last year, this isn't an accurate picture.
"The overall income from on-street and off-street parking charges (excluding Sundays) is up 75 per cent compared to the same time last year.
"We made the changes to bring us in line with our neighbouring boroughs.
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"Any extra revenue is invested back into improving our roads and pavements which residents told us is one of their key concerns for residents."
In the first financial quarter of 2018/19, Havering Council received a total of £412,660 from all of its car parks.
In total the council received £1,160,263 from its car parks and £431, 598 from off-street car parking.
Peter told the Recorder: "I wanted to know if the council had carried out any assessment that the impact of this policy would have.
"The response from the council was that other than an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) that looks at the impact on any disadvantaged or vulnerable people, no assessment on the impact on local businesses was done.
"This shocked me that such a big decision was done without proper analysis and consideration of the impact it would have on the lives of people in the area."
Hundreds of residents gathered to protest the parking charges changes at a council meeting in July and recently the popular independent bookshop, Swan Books in Upminster, said that the parking changes were one of the reasons it was having to close.
Leader of the council, Damian White, announced in September that the local authority would be reviewing the car parking changes in Hornchurch and Upminster and the Controlled Parking Zones.