Leadership rethink needed over Sunderland parking failings
Wearside Liberal Democrats are calling for a cross-party taskforce to be set up to address Sunderland City Council’s ‘serious and repeated failings’ over city parking services.
It comes after the Sunderland Echo revealed today (2nd January) that council taxpayers have footed a £30,000 bill to fix faulty parking meters over the past 2 years.
It is the latest in a string of parking and highways scandals in the city.
Just a few weeks ago RAC foundation figures showed that Sunderland Council made a £469,000 loss running car parks in 2014/15, bringing the total amount lost running car parking services to £1,941,000 since 2010.
In contrast other local authorities in the North East made a profit from their car parks, and offer significantly more free parking at evenings and weekends to boost their local economies.
The same leadership team at the Council in charge of car parks is also responsible for the controversial traffic surveys on bridges and key roads in Sunderland last September which caused chaos for commuters, students and business people.
Sunderland Lib Dems believe the wasteful spending and mismanagement of parking services has reached crisis point, and are calling for a city-wide taskforce to be set up to help the council get a grip on the situation.
Lib Dem parking campaigner and Millfield candidate Niall Hodson commented:
“This latest revelation that council taxpayers’ money is being spent repairing hundreds of faulty parking meters instead of on basic services like repairing potholes and emptying bins is shocking, but sadly not surprising.
“Sunderland Council is still unable to get on top of its serious and repeated failures when it comes to parking, having wasted nearly £2 million subsidising car parks in the city over the past 5 years.
“That’s why the local Lib Dems are calling for a cross-party and city-wide taskforce to be set up to see what can be done to improve parking services in Sunderland. By bringing together representatives of all political parties, as well as other organisations such as residents associations and parking experts, perhaps we can come up with new ideas and solutions to improve parking services and make sure they don’t run at such a huge cost to council taxpayers.”
Notes to editors:
A photo is attached: Lib Dem parking campaigner Niall Hodson at Sunderland Civic Centre car park
Full details of the Sunderland Echo story about the cost of repairing faulty parking machines can be found here: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/all-news/parking-machine-faults-costing-sunderland-thousands-of-pounds-1-7652270
RAC Foundation statistics revealed that Sunderland Council made a £496,000 loss in 2014/15; £383,000 in 2013/14; £306,000 in 2012/13, £362,000 in 2011/12; and £394,000 in 2010/11.
In the past year Newcastle City Council made more than £6.6million profit from parking services.