Council freezes out competition by keeping power over new Milton Keynes car park’s charges

Artist's impression of the new car park
Artist's impression of the new car park

Parking charges at a brand new multi-storey car park will stay under the control of Milton Keynes Council to stop private operators undercutting their charges.

The council is concerned that if it let a private company set the charges at the new car park next to MK Central Railway Station it could lead to an exodus of drivers from its 550 spaces nearby and hit its precious income.

A meeting at MK Council on Tuesday (Sept 17) was told that all of the companies that attended a “supplier day” in February would only take over the car park if they had full control of the tariffs.

“This is problematic,” Ted Jiboye, the council’s parking contract manager said in his report. “The council manages a further 550 surface level long stay spaces in the vicinity.

“An operator may undercut the prices of these spaces significantly in order to attract users to the new car park and maximise income, which would pose a risk to the council’s income from these spaces – essentially undermining the purpose of leasing out the multi-storey car park in the first place.”

Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), the council’s cabinet member for transport and planning, said: “After consideration I have decided that we should manage the car park ourselves through our parking contractor, Saba.

“We believe that this is the best value for the council.”

The council believes that Saba’s costs will be offset by the income that it will eventually get from the new car park, which is due to open next year.