Revelead: How much Sunderland City Council made from parking in last five years
Sunderland City Council's parking operation has made a profit for the first time in five years, according to new figures from one of the country's leading motoring organisations.
The findings come from analysis by transport consultant David Leibling for the RAC Foundation.
He looked at the official returns councils make annually to the Department for Communities and Local Government for each year from 2012-13 to 2016-17.
They show Sunderland lost a total of £1,236,000 in the first four years of the period covered.
But last year the council showed a £437,000 surplus, enough to place it 230th out of the 353 local authorities surveyed.
The figures show English councils made a record £819 million from their parking operations in the last financial year.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “The upward path in profits is in part a reflection of the record number of cars and volume of traffic.
“The silver lining for drivers is that these surpluses must almost exclusively be ploughed back into transport and as any motorist will tell you there is no shortage of work to be done.
“We welcome the fact that councils are increasingly investing in technology to help make parking easier and less stressful.
“We urge motorists to take the time to read their own local authority’s parking report so they can see both the rationale for charges in their area and how the surplus is being spent.”
Coun Michael Mordey, City Council Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: “The council has achieved this surplus by continually reviewing and updating parking services.
“There are now more bays and more spaces in and around the city centre as we continue to invest and refresh our city’s parking.
“In the last five years an extra 143 spaces have been provided including 104 on-street bays and occupancy levels are improving not declining.
“The council offers free parking in all council operated city centre car parks and on street bays after 3pm every Thursday throughout the year
“Plus, all surface car parks and on-street bays are completely free after 6pm, Monday to Saturday; and free all day on a Sunday with the exception of St Marys, Sunniside and the Livingstone Road car parks. These are in addition to the free limited waiting bays around the city.
“By offering more choice we now operate a healthy surplus which we use to reinvest in our city’s parking network and its facilities.”