Are people steering clear of Central Milton Keynes due to the parking charges?

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Parking Meters in CMK'''Wk3 MPMC PNL-140429-104525001

A massive £1 million drop in the council’s income from parking charges has proved motorists are voting with their feet – or at least their steering wheels.

The reduction has been put down to fewer people visiting centre:mk, where the £2 an hour premium rate parking is the council’s biggest earner.

It’s caused city Conservatives to issue a major ‘I told you so’ to the Labour administration.

“We have always warned against high parking charges because we think there is a point at which people simply will not pay, and will steer clear of visiting the area,” said Tory councillor Edith Bald (pictured).

Last year the council earned £13.8 million a year from its 22,000 parking spaces – a rise of 16 per cent from 2015.

Last year, though they decided to freeze premium and standard rate fees, they imposed hefty increases for some many employees and permit holders.

Each year much of the cash is ploughed back into bus subsidies, concession fares, and highway improvements.

The drop in income will have a severe impact on these services, say the Tories.

Labour have now set up a special task and finish group to examine why projected profits are so low.

Council leader Pete Marland said: “We haven’t put up standard or premium parking charges for a few years now. and did not increase the cost of standard employee permits last year. However the trend is that more people are shopping online and working from home. The main fall has been in premium bay income, and even that is still one of the cheapest rates anywhere in the country for a major city centre.”