Car park­ing in­come is fall­ing short

The Oban Times - - News -

IN­CREAS­ING car park­ing charges may not be help­ing to bal­ance High­land Coun­cil’s books, ac­cord­ing to a Lochaber coun­cil­lor.

At the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing last Thurs­day, (Novem­ber 5), An­drew Bax­ter, mem­ber for Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan, raised con­cerns that the pro­jected earn­ings from in­creas­ing car park­ing charges has been lower than ex­pected ev­ery year since fi­nan­cial year 2010/11.

He said: ‘We didn’t man­age to reach the in­come we had bud­geted for this year. In fact, we haven’t been able to reach the in­come in car park­ing we had bud­geted for since fi­nan­cial year 2010/11 and yet ev­ery year since then we have in­creased fees.

‘In view of the fact we are con­sid­er­ing putting up car park­ing charges again, I would say is this re­ally sen­si­ble? It may be an easy op­tion but that is smoke and mir­rors if we haven’t ac­tu­ally been able to achieve it since 2010. I’m con­cerned if we con­tinue like that it will be­gin to have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on our com­mu­ni­ties with­out ac­tu­ally any ben­e­fit to the coun­cil’s bud­get.’

Coun­cil­lor Bax­ter also called for a re­view of the car park charg­ing pol­icy as part of High­land Coun­cil’s bud­get re­views.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity is ex­pected to have a short­fall of £250,000 on es­ti­mated in­come for car park charges this fi­nan­cial year.

Wil­liam Gil­fil­lan, di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ser­vices, said the fund­ing gap is a re­sult of pre­vi­ous ‘pres­sures’ be­ing car­ried into this year’s bud­get.

He added: ‘The team worked out what we could charge and put those into the bud­get and we’re con­fi­dent those fig­ures will ma­te­ri­alise.’

CON­CERNS: An­drew Bax­ter.

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