It is thought Worthing subsidises other parts of West Sussex to the tune £1 million a year from its earnings on car parking. West Sussex County Council seeks to clarify the situation this week by releasing the facts and figures.
Firstly there are two agency agreements between Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex covering on-street car parking. There is a third contract covering off-street car parking between Worthing Borough Council and NCP.
One agency agreement covers the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) which generated a gross income of £2.8 million from 2009 to 2011. The net income is significantly less as it includes the Parking and TRO teams cost and other items. A clause in the CPZ agreement determines any surplus is distributed across West Sussex. The clause is proving a bone of contention.
Clause 16.4 states: “a surplus of income over expenditure in the Worthing Borough Council On-Street Account – such surplus may be used by the County Council in its sole discretion to reduce or eliminate deficits in other boroughs or districts in West Sussex or for other purposes.”
The agency agreement contract covers Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) which has operated at a loss since 2009. The total gross loss for the three years to 2011 is just over £500,000. The number of parking attendants has been reduced from 22 in 2007 to 16 in 2013. West Sussex County Council contends the number of attendants now is not sufficient to produce a surplus. A clause in the CPE agreement determines any surplus remains in Worthing or to the benefit of Worthing residents.
Clause 17.4 states: “Any surplus in the On-Street section of the Joint Enforcement Account accruing to the Council shall be expended in accordance with the regulatory statutory requirements and: within Worthing Borough; or in exceptional circumstances, elsewhere in West Sussex for the benefit of Worthing residents, subject to the agreement of .. (the CLC).” The CLC is the Worthing County Local Committee.
All other areas of West Sussex will produce a surplus on their Civil Parking Enforcement and the monies will be spent in their towns. Worthing will miss out.
The West Sussex total gross income from CPZ is £4.5 million but this offset against CPE losses of £2.8 million. Parking and TRO Teams account for a further £1.3 million charge with £1 million being spent in support of public transport. This leaves a net surplus for the three years for all West Sussex of £635,000.
The £1,000,000 public transport support helps subsidise West Sussex bus services.
The Leader of Worthing Borough Council in 2007 Keith Mercer authorised the agreements.