The City of Lincoln Council is expecting to lose out more than £1.1 million in car parking revenue this year as retailers across the city are reporting up to a 25% drop in takings year on year.
A report before the authority’s executive committee next Wednesday shows that in the first quarter of the year the income from car parking was down from the budgeted £1,581,000, taking £1,265,000 instead — a deficit of £316,000. Until the end of the financial year, this is expected to be a loss of £1,141,000.
The document states that the figures follow a trend which began towards the end of last year and “reflects a reduction in demand for shopper car parking spaces” after several big national retailers closed their stores due to trading difficulties.
“This position is in line with a reduction in footfall in the city centre and the general decline in high street shopping and fragility of the retail sector,” the report indicates.
It adds: “There have over the course of the last six months been a number of business failures in the city and many businesses on the high street are reporting up to a 25% drop in takings year on year.”
However, the report hopes new development in the Cornhill Quarter, University of Lincoln expansion, and increased passenger numbers due to direct Lincoln to London trains will bring more revenue to the council’s coffers.
It says these forecast an increase in the demand for city centre parking “in the longer term.”
“These future changes and growth over the next few years are set to increase utilisation of the council’s car parks, reducing the shortfall against income targets.”
The authority plugged the budget gap so far by releasing cash from its £178,070 income volatility reserve.
It has also implemented elements of its car parking income generation strategy, including improvements to car parks, looking at where its facilities are, and focusing more on residents and permit parking.
The authority recently bought two Lincoln NCP car parks for £6.6 million.
Council bosses have also called for reviews into reserves and insurance funds in a bid to provide short-term responses.
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.