Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - > ENDA MULLEN RE­PORTS:

PEO­PLE could be charged to park at the an­nual Godiva Fes­ti­val next year as part of a Coven­try City Coun­cil plan to cope with £10mil­lion bud­get gap.

The city coun­cil has set out a num­ber of pro­pos­als which could form part of its bud­get in 2019/20.

A pre-bud­get re­port was con­sid­ered by the coun­cil’s cab­i­net last Tues­day and a num­ber of money-mak­ing ini­tia­tives are now the sub­ject of con­sul­ta­tion in a bid to re­duce the bud­get gap from £10m to £0.6m.

The mea­sures un­der con­sid­er­a­tion come on top of a pro­posed coun­cil tax in­crease of 2.9 per cent.

They in­clude hav­ing to pay to park at the city’s tra­di­tion­ally free Godiva Fes­ti­val in a move which could rake in £150,000 over the next three years. More cash could also be raised from in­creas­ing spon­sor­ship and nam­ing rights of the pop­u­lar event.

Ex­tra mer­chan­dise from the fes­ti­val is also sug­gested as a way to raise an ex­tra £75,000 over the next three years. A state­ment on Coven­try City Coun­cil’s web­site said: “Pro­pos­als listed in the re­port would re­duce the cur­rent bud­get gap for 2019/20 from £10m to £0.6m, so we are on tar­get for se­cur­ing a bal­anced bud­get.

“Fur­ther work will be un­der­taken to ad­dress the 2019/20 bud­get gap out­lined in the re­port be­tween now and the fi­nal Bud­get Re­port in Fe­bru­ary.

“The prob­lem that the Coun­cil is fac­ing in 2020/21 is that the pro­jected fi­nan­cial gap will rise to £17m mainly be­cause of un­cer­tainty around the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment fi­nance en­vi­ron­ment, greater external pres­sures in some of its de­mand led ser­vices, and con­tin­ued in­fla­tion­ary pres­sures. This in­cludes pres­sures that the Coun­cil con­tin­ues to face from sup­port­ing fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als in tem­po­rary and sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion with ad­di­tional costs of £2.9m be­ing funded in 2018/19.”

There are also a num­ber of pro­pos­als in the pre-bud­get re­port re­lat­ing to other park­ing and mo­tor­ing of­fences.

One is the in­tro­duc­tion of evening park­ing pa­trols at peak times.

This would see traf­fic war­dens op­er­at­ing at night to pe­nalise mo­torists who are park­ing where they shouldn’t or have over­stayed their al­lot­ted time.

Mo­torists who park on zigzag lines out­side schools and other re­struc­tured ar­eas where they shouldn’t - such as taxi ranks and on red lines - could also find them­selves pe­nalised by the coun­cil.

In or­der to po­lice the pro­pos­als, the coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing the prospect of buying an Au­to­matic Num­ber Plate Recog­ni­tion (ANPR) car to cap­ture of­fences.

An­other po­ten­tial rev­enue stream be­ing con­sid­ered is in­stalling ad­di­tional cam­eras to en­force re­stric­tions in ex­ist­ing bus lanes.

All of the pro­pos­als will now fall un­der a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which will seek res­i­dents’ views on the plans.

As part of the re­port con­sid­ered by the cab­i­net, the coun­cil has es­ti­mated how much money could be made by some of the pro­pos­als.

Charg­ing peo­ple to park at the Godiva Fes­ti­val could bring in £50,000 each year over the next three years, though the re­port in­di­cates some of that could come through in­creased spon­sor­ship and/or a nam­ing rights deal.

The coun­cil also be­lieves the an­nual free fes­ti­val could raise an ad­di­tional £25,000 yearly through mer­chan­dis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As far as op­er­at­ing an ANPR ve­hi­cle goes it is es­ti­mated that could gen­er­ate ad­di­tional rev­enues of £25,000 in 2019/20 but bring in £40,000 a year there­after as part of a three-year forecast.

With evening park­ing pa­trols at peak times it has been es­ti­mated that could raise £25,000 next year and £50,000 a year in 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Bus lane en­force­ment has been iden­ti­fied as a po­ten­tial big earner, with it es­ti­mated to bring in £60,000 next year and £120,000 a year for the two years af­ter that.

The pro­pos­als are just some of many de­tailed in a lengthy ap­pen­dix to the re­port.

Oth­ers in­clude the ex­pan­sion of pest con­trol ser­vices and in­creas­ing its work with neigh­bour­ing au­thor­i­ties charg­ing ac­cord­ingly.

The re­port says this is some­thing that is be­ing done al­ready but it es­ti­mates fur­ther com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion could bring in an ad­di­tional £30,000 a year over the next three years.

An­other area iden­ti­fied to bring in ex­tra fund­ing is the growth of the coun­cil’s com­mer­cial waste ser­vice.

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