Anger over £1.2 million permit scheme ‘profits’ for Sheffield council

Sharrow Vale parking permit zone
Sharrow Vale parking permit zone

Parking permit schemes have come under fire – after figures showed they are set to make a £1.2 million profit for Sheffield Council in a year.

Statistics for the first four months of 2013/14 show that total income from permits, pay-and-display fees and fines was £803,826, against a cost of £418,408 – generating a surplus of £385,418.

Multiplied over the course of the year, the figures would total £2,411,478 income, £1,315,224 costs and £1,156,254 profit.

The money is being raised across six parking permit zones – Sharrow, Broomhill, Broomhall, Highfield, Crookesmoor and Hillsborough.

Income to July was £117,606 from permit charges, £431,704 from pay-and-display parking fees and £254,516 from penalty fines.

The news comes as the council was among authorities criticised by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for raising on-street parking charges, hitting traders.

Opposition Liberal Democrats say the amount of profit calls into question Labour’s policy of increasing permit charges, which have been hiked from £10 to £36 after two successive rises.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat group leader and Broomhill councillor, said: “Parking permit zones exist to address parking problems – not to make a profit. When Liberal Democrats controlled the council, we slashed permit prices.”

But ruling Labour councillors said income from parking permits alone does not cover the cost of running the zones – adding that 2011/12 budget, the last set by the Lib Dems, predicted an £870,000 surplus from parking permit zones.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member responsible for business, skills and development, accused the Liberal Democrats of ‘hypocrisy’.

He said: “If you look at the Liberal Democrats’ record on permit zones, they also doubled the pay-and-display rates for the zones in 2011.”

Coun Bramall said surplus from the permit zones is spent on transport.