Lib Dems step into Sunderland council car parking row

Wearside Lib Dem campaigner Niall Hodson at the Brougham Street car park in Sunderland city centre.
Wearside Lib Dem campaigner Niall Hodson at the Brougham Street car park in Sunderland city centre.
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Wearside Liberal Democrats have accused Sunderland City Council for wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on the city’s car parks.

RAC Foundation figures show Sunderland made a £469,000 loss on car parks in the past year – meaning the authority has now lost money on car parking services for the past five years.

Their lack of joined up thinking on this issue means car parking in Sunderland is the worst of both worlds for residents and businesses in the city – not only is it expensive to park in Sunderland, residents are paying for the service through their Council Tax too.

Niall Hodson

Liberal Democrat campaigner for Millfield and Thornholme Ward Niall Hodson said: “Labour councillors running our council need to get a grip on the situation as a matter of priority.

“Their lack of joined-up thinking means car parking in Sunderland is the worst of both worlds for residents and businesses in the city – not only is it expensive to park in Sunderland, residents are paying for the service through their council tax too.

“I would urge ruling councillors to speak with neighbouring councils to see how they all manage to run car parking services without a taxpayer subsidy and at the same time offer more free parking for shoppers.”

Niall Hodson has also called for Sunderland Council to reduce councillors’ allowances to the same level as Newcastle.

In 2014/15, the total amount spent on allowances and expenses in Sunderland was £1,192,311.72 – £246,211.97 more than Newcastle.

“Sunderland Council needs to live within its means. That includes cutting back wasteful council spending like this,” said Mr Hodson.

Coun Michael Mordey, cabinet member for city services, said: “I am happy to debate the provisions of the city council’s parking plan with anyone who has a genuine desire to see an improvement in profitability of parking in the city.

“But this is just a blatant attempt to further a political campaign and people will see through it.”