Friday, 13 January 2017

Urgent: consultation on Reading Council first parking permit charges

At the Policy Committee on Monday, January 16 councillors will be voting on changes to the parking scheme in Reading including a charge for the first permit. I want to know what people think and so have set out the key arguments in support of a charge below and have created a short online survey for people to let me know what they think.

Apologies for the short notice, but the recommendation from the Traffic Committee was only made yesterday!

Key facts
The council is proposing introducing a charge of £30 for the first permit per year (an increase from 0) and leaving the 2nd permit at £120.

The parking permit scheme (permit administration and enforcement) currently runs at a loss meaning all council taxpayers, including those without cars, are subsidising it. Given government cuts, and the dire financial situation of the council, this is not sustainable into the future.

Introducing a charge for the first permit would mean in some years there is a surplus and any loss will be smaller. This uncertainty is because the cost of the enforcement contract depends on the number of tickets issued.

Any surplus from the scheme will be ring fenced for transport and used as follows:

  • to introduce new schemes (currently because of a shortage of money there is a backlog of schemes which is not moving)
  • to improve the online permit administration system making it easier for residents to use
  • an upgrade to the CCTV camera car which will improve enforcement of existing schemes
  • more traffic wardens
  • more flexible visitor permits, eventually allowing us to move away from the a.m./p.m. permits to custom permits that fit better with the hours a visitor wants
  • an upgrade to the Love Clean Reading smart phone app so residents can report cars which are breaking the rules

The short survey can be found here:

Financial notes
  • Administration of parking permits is cost neutral.
  • In the last 3 years the amount the enforcement contract has been subsidised by ranges from £300,000-£157,000. It is dependent on how many parking tickets are issued.
  • Maintenance of parking scheme signs and lines across Reading ranges from £30,000 per year to £50,000 per year
  • Introducing a charge of £30 for a first permit brings in £226,080.
  • Approximately £30,000 will be brought in by charging £30 for discretionary permits which are currently free.

So if we look at the best case after introducing a £30 charge for the first permit and discretionary permits the income/costs would be as follows:

Income: £256,080
Best case costs: £187,000
Surplus to pay for new schemes and improvements per year: £69,080

It should be noted that if the number of parking tickets issued is low then there will be no surplus and the scheme will make a loss.

The short survey can be found here:

The full council committee report can be found here: 

No comments: