EXCLUSIVE: East Cambs Council faces £400,000 black hole following U-turn on car parking charges
- Credit: Archant
THE decision to scrap parking charges in Ely may have been a victory for campaigners but it has left the public purse with a £400,000 black hole that may have to be filled with further cuts or tax rises.
East Cambridgeshire District Council revealed this week that the aborted attempt to introduce a charging system for Ely’s stable of car parks would cost £176,000 this financial year and £221,500 next year in lost revenue.
Added to that is the news this week that the Ely branch of Waitrose has decided to scrap an agreement with the council, which sees council parking wardens monitor its Bray’s Lane car park, 12 months ahead of schedule. The move will result in the loss of £17,000 worth of revenue.
Councillor Peter Moakes, former leader of the council, said: “The decision not to move forward with car parking charges in Ely means the authority will have to find savings elsewhere within its budget to fund the financial gap which has been created.”
Cllr Moakes added the new shortfall would be “tackled” by officers and councillors over the next 12 months as budgets were reassessed.
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The council says that the loss of revenue from the Bray’s Lane car park, which it has monitored since 1996, will be offset by parking wardens being redeployed to other areas.
The council is in the middle of its four-year spending review and announced at the start of the year that it would not have to make any more cuts in its 2013/14 budget.
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However, that was before the U-turn on car park charging was made.
On top of that, the council’s grant from government is set to decrease by 13 per cent next year, which could leave it having to find even more savings. The council would not be drawn on where any savings would come from.