Spotlight put on abuse of residents' parking schemes in Milton Keynes

A £25 annual charge for residential parking permits in Milton Keynes is set to be “reviewed” as a leading councillor revealed that the money raised from fees only covers about half the cost of running the schemes.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of MK Council’s Cabinet, the transport and planning chief revealed that the review will be considered as a part of the 2020/21 budget setting process.

Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council

Cllr Martin Gowans said the review would be carried out “within the context of the £150m of cuts required due to Conservative austerity measures”.

He added that income from the cost of permits covers “approximately half the cost of implementing, administering and enforcing schemes”.

Cllr Gowans was also responding to criticism of the enforcement, or lack of enforcement, of the so-called Controlled Parking Zones. This means that people are getting away with parking in the zones without paying for permits to do so.

The issue was raised at the full council in June and again at the Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday).

Cllr Gowans said the council intends to introduce a vehicle that can drive around estates and digitally recognise number plates.

The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) vehicle would “scan vehicles to see if they have a valid resident or visitor permit.”

He added: “The ANPR vehicle will enable much-improved enforcement of the outer area resident permit parking zones as it will be able to drive around the areas scanning vehicles far more efficiently and alerting a parking attendant.

“This will be particularly advantageous in areas such as Loughton where the restriction only applies for two, one hour slots per day and cannot be fully covered by a single parking attendant.”

The council is set to introduce electronic permits and says this will allow them to investigate any potential fraud.