COUNCIL bosses lost money from their car parking new figures reveal.
A report from the RAC Foundation shows Sunderland City Council made a £362,000 loss in 2011/12 – the only North East authority to lose money.
Newcastle Council generated a record £6.7million revenue, while South Tyneside pulled in £618,000. Durham County Council made £383,000.
Sunderland came 355th out of 359 councils in England.
Conservative councillor Peter Wood said: “It’s not the first time Sunderland has made a loss on car parking, and it is certainly a matter of concern.
“We shouldn’t be making massive profits, but we ought to be covering the costs. It shouldn’t be a burden on the taxpayer.
“I am all in favour of people using public transport, but we have to realise that not everybody is on a bus or Metro route.”
The figures are based on three factors – on-street parking charges, off-street parking costs and parking penalties.
Running costs of parking operations are deducted to produce the final figure.
Bosses at Sunderland City Council said today that they are carrying out a review of parking to refresh the service.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Sunderland’s loss could well reflect a good parking policy, one designed to keep charges down to attract shoppers to the city centre.
“But, in running a deficit, the council is in the minority.”
Councillor James Blackburn, from Sunderland City Council, said: “Parking charges have not been increased since 2009 and neither have costs for penalty charge notices.
“Parking services to the council have always been more than a revenue collecting exercise.
“Parking services in Sunderland are about improving road safety, reducing congestion in the interests of all highways users, and supporting economic activity and viability from the city centre to all local shopping areas.
“It should be remembered that there is competition in and around the city centre with private car parks, the university and off-street parking.
“External reports have noted how the council’s parking enforcement management is ‘firm but fair’.
“Looking ahead, the council has been undertaking a review of parking with a view to refreshing the service and a strategy that puts more focus on supporting economic activity across the city.”