Worthing Daily Editor Alan Rice has now received an answer to his Freedom of Information (FOI) request on Worthing’s Multi-Storey Car Parks.
Fed up with NCP, Worthing Borough Council took off-street car parking back in-house from April 1st this year and launched a trial reduction in multi-storey car parking fees to £1.00 an hour. Worthing residents and visitors were challenged by Council Leader Paul Yallop to ‘Use it or Lose it’.
Initially for three months, the trial was extended for a further three months in July after early indications showed a positive response and reserves set aside against possible failure had not been used.
The FOI request was an attempt to clarify whether the trial had indeed been a success by obtaining detailed accounts of costs and income for the period April to June. And the tendered accounts (actually to July) confirm a success with total actual surplus £194,458 against a budgeted £126,390.
But as usual the devil is in the detail with surface car parks doing exceptionally well with a surplus of £121,046 for the four months as against a budget of just £19,760 for the whole year. The multi-storey car parks achieved a surplus of *£280,989 for four months against a budget of £1,079,950 for the year – not so good.
One of the reasons surface car parks did so well is because there were zero wage costs for the four months whereas £123,880 was budgeted for the annual wage bill. Another was miniscule use of the maintenance budget. Are these savings permanent or will there be a hit later? Problems at Goring Road shops car park suggest there will be.
Other costs appear to be missing. For instance total ‘heating, lighting and water’ for four months is budgeted at £22,333 but the actual cost was a mere £139. We suspect the bill is yet to arrive. Worthing Daily would expect an adjustment in judging success to cater for bills not to hand like these.
So has the trial been a success or not? We don’t know – the jury is still out.
*Adjusted by Worthing Daily to include just 4 months apportioned rates as whole year taken up front in accounts.
Details of the FOI response can be found at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/multi_storey_car_parks_finances