Council making thousands by ‘keeping the change’ in Bury St Edmunds car parks

Car park in ARC ENGANL00120120228132748
Car park in ARC ENGANL00120120228132748
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It has been revealed that car parking meters that do not issue change raked in an extra £83,000 for St Edmundsbury Borough Council between 2012 and 2013.

A freedom of information request by The Mirror newspaper showed that the council made the third highest profits of the 79 councils that responded in that year.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “When the issue of car parking has been raised with me, a number of our members have felt that the council is making additional income by not providing change.

“I have been involved in discussions about a pay-on-exit scheme being introduced in our car parks and when this happens it will hopefully incorporate technology which will reduce the need for payment by money.”

The council has taken steps to reduce the figure by ensuring tariffs can be paid with three coins.

These changes were initiated by Cllr David Nettleton and saw drivers’ overspend drop to £37,945 from 2013-2014.

Cllr Nettleton said: “We want people to pay the right money. We do not want to take more off people than we advertise within the charges.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has ruled out introducing meters that issue change.

Cllr Alaric Pugh, portfolio holder responsible for car parks, said: “The reason why the council opts to have the ticket machines that it does, is that the alternative would require us to have 97 machines all full of thousands of pounds of change, which presents a massive theft risk.

“We would have to spend millions of pounds replacing our ticket machines.”