Bexleys website says that their Parking Control Account (PCA) has been filed at the
Mayor of Londons Office but in a phone call to try to get hold of a copy they
said they were still waiting for it. Why does Bexley council have to lie all the
time? Fortunately an FOI is not easily ignored. From that we learn that total parking fees
last year were £669,000 and fines (from Penalty Charge Notices, PCNs) were £2,306,000.
An income approaching £3m. Costs for the whole operation; thats all parking and fining activity,
not just that relating to residents parking permits, was £2,257,00 - so parking services
overall run at a tidy profit. They allegedly spent it on Transport Strategy.
You wont be surprised to learn that a council as vindictive and motorist hating
as Bexley issued 54,583 (revealed by FOI request) penalties in the year for which the overheads must be
considerable. They have a uniformed gestapo team going around on motorbikes and
in cars armed with cameras and computers checking on yellow lines all day long.
The yellow lines and notices are found throughout the borough. On the other hand
we have residents sending in payment for a permit who subsequently get one in
the post and the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) infrastructure extends only across a few areas near railway
stations and shopping centres and operates for only two hours a day. Lets be extremely
generous and assume that the cost of processing a PCN is the same as processing a
permit. Unlikely I know, PCNs get challenged and result in appeals and
paperwork and residents just wait for the postman, but lets give Craske the
benefit of the doubt. So now we have 3,081 permits issued and the best part of 55,000 PCNs.
Its pretty close to being a 5%/95% split or to put it another way; of the £2,257,000
expenditure on parking services just £113,000 may relate to CPZs and parking permits.
The FOI provides a break down of costs. £49,000 is attributed to Permit
Administration and whilst the permit income is not revealed it must be well over £100,000
at the old permit price and Craske said in his email it is £170,000. He also said that
fines from parking in residents bays amounted to £275,000 whilst the FOI
says that the total of all fines was £2,306,000. So 12% of fines comes from CPZs.
If you assume, as seems likely, that it costs the same to fine a yellow
line offender as it does a CPZ offender, it leads to the conclusion that CPZ fine
collection costs are
about 12% of the total too. The FOI says that about £2m. is spent handing out and
subsequently processing fines so the CPZ element may be as high as £250,000. Quite a
lot, but Craskes emails said that CPZ related fines were £275,000 and the income
from selling permits (at the pre-increase price) was £177,000. Thats a pretty big
profit even before the price went up. No wonder Newham says that a CPZ is self-financing.
Craske says CPZs are very expensive to set up and maintain. Has Craske been lying?
Does he ever tell the truth? Well lets look at things a different way and compare his emails with
the FOI answer and the PCA. Then perhaps we can make up our minds.
• Craske says that the permits ran up £258,000 in staff costs. Thats nearly 60%
of the whole office - for about 5% of total activity.
• Craske says it costs £49,000 to produce the permits; implying printing only
because he separately lists the other costs. The FOI reveals that £49k. is the total
administration cost. Looks like someone is double counting with the intention to deceive.
• Craske says it costs £36,000 a year to paint white lines within CPZs but the
figure appears to be imaginary. It doesnt appear in the Parking Accounts, or in
the FOI answer and other reports indicate no lines were painted last year.
• Craske says that on-street enforcement costs for CPZs is
£328,00 a year. Thats 45% of total enforcement costs according to the FOI answer -
for two hours a day maximum restrictions compared to all day outside the CPZs over a vastly wider area.
• Craske says that he spends £11,000 on computers and the like just for CPZ admin.
Thats exactly half the total office computer costs according to the FOI answer
- for about 5% of the total work.
• Craske says that accommodation overheads related to CPZ admin. amount to £71,200 and the FOI
says that premises costs for the whole office adds up to £110,000. 65% for 5% of the activity.
• Craske says that every cost related to residents’ parking permits adds up to
£783,200. That’s more than a third of the entire parking enforcement office to
deal with 3,081 permits and around 12% of the total PCNs issued.