Weather blamed as car park takings crash
PARKING chiefs have blamed bad weather for a £400,000 shortfall in their takings.Each year about 3 million people park in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill netting St Edmundsbury Borough Council about £2.5 million a year.
PARKING chiefs have blamed bad weather for a £400,000 shortfall in their takings.
Each year about 3 million people park in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill netting St Edmundsbury Borough Council about £2.5 million a year.
But this year fewer visitors have ventured into either town and the council will have to dig into its reserve funds to cover the revenue gap.
The reason, according to the council's chief finance officer Graham Moore, was a mix of “exceptional wet weather”, the £100 million pound arc development and visitors using cheaper parking spaces.
In his budget monitoring report for councillors, he said the shortfall in income had been investigated by officers.
“There are a number of reasons that members will need to be aware of including exceptional wet weather of the last six months which has deterred some visitors to the off street parking spaces, other customers have been displaced from higher income to lower income generating spaces and an overall downturn in parking events being experienced in this region,” said Mr Moore in his report.
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The Cattle Market development in Bury has also led to a cut in the amount of money coming through the slots of the town's ticket machines.
“Officers have looked at how this underachievement can be addressed, and it appears unlikely that income can be generated this year to meet the anticipated budget deficit.”
A spokeswoman for the council said there were other reasons for the shortfall and that the council would have to use its reserves to cover the revenue gap.
“There are a number of reasons why car parking income hasn't matched the budget set at the start of the financial year,” she said.
“For example, price rises were approved by the borough council but their implementation was delayed in Haverhill for five months as we were installing new ticket machines.
“Car park income is also weather-dependent and so, due to the conditions over the summer, it is down in both towns - as indeed we know it is across the region.
“We have a reserve specifically to cover car parking, because of such variables, which will be used.