SOLIHULL Council is relying on Christmas to offset a predicted £180,0000 shortfall from car park charges.
A revenue report, presented to last week’s Transport and Highways Committee, revealed a combined income shortfall of £245,000 from car parks and parking fines for this financial year.
This has now been reduced to £180,000 through reductions in maintenance.
But Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, was hopeful that a busy festive season would help ‘balance the books’.
“It’s early days,” he said. “The report details a predicted shortfall after half the year, however there will be a busy period in the lead up to Christmas, so this picture could change.
“We are monitoring the use of our car parks and are putting various measures in place to increase the numbers of people using them. These include postponing the annual car parking increase in Monkspath Hall Road, exploring how we can maximise the impact of events in the town centre, and looking at how we can make it easier to pay in advance, for example using a monthly debit scheme or concessionary pricing.”
Typically the council rakes in 40 per cent of its income between October-December.
Coun Richards also welcomed Solihull’s official Christmas lights switch-on next weekend, the first for several years, which he believed would help attract more visitors to the centre.