People would be paying significantly more for car parking if the council left it to the free market, says the City of Lincoln Council leader.
In a report before councillors on Tuesday, it was confirmed the authority had missed out on £1 million in car parking revenue last year.
It had wanted to make £6,064,000, but in fact only brought in £5,025,000 over the past year.
Following previous reports on the figures, a number of local drivers said charges were “too high”, but council leader Ric Metcalfe disagreed.
“It isn’t, it depends how you’re judging this. We fair extremely well in terms of how our charges compare with cities of a similar size.
“You have to remember that in a busy urban area where we have a very substantial number of people coming in and out each day there’s going to be an immense amount of competition for space.
“We don’t have to provide car parking, we do so for obvious economic reasons that, for example, good parking facilities are important for the retail sector and business generally
“But also, if we weren’t present in the market people would be paying significantly more for car parking if we left it to the free market.”
He maintained that car parking charges – at £1.60 an hour – were “pretty good” adding that the authority’s main competition, NCP, charged more.
He added that car parking was expensive for councils, including the costs of purchasing the land and building the facilities – the new Central Car Park for example saw £13 million borrowed which has to be paid back – on top of staff, CCTV and general maintenance.
“We’re not looking to make profits from car parking charges we’re simply reflecting all of the overheads that inevitably go with a good service which is what we offer,” he said.
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