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Parking fines soaring in Folkestone

Folkestone & Hythe District have raked in over £200,000 in parking fines between April and September this year, a Freedom Of Information Request has found.

More than 10,500 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued in this period, with The Leas being the most common location to attract a ticket with 891 fines having been dished out.

This financial year is likely to surpass 2017/18 where the council had an income of £500,000 through parking fines, a 53% increase from just ten years earlier in 2007.

Frederick Miller is the Transportation Manager for the council, and he argues that the council make minimal profit from PCNs.

He said: “The purpose of penalty charge notices is not to generate an income for the Council, but to ensure that drivers park responsibly, and to help manage the flow of traffic around the district’s roads and to improve road safety.

“The council employs a team of officers to enforce parking restrictions both on-street and in the council’s car parks around the district.

“The salary costs alone of this team of officers comes to over £372,000 per year, and when other costs, such as computer equipment, uniforms, travelling expenses and notice processing are taken into account, there is hardly any net income from on-street parking enforcement.

“Any surplus income in relation to on-street enforcement is ring-fenced for future transport improvements in accordance with national legislation.”

Sandgate Road Car Park had 287 PCNs in 2017-2018

The price of a fine in the district is either £50 or £70 depending on the reason, and this amount is reduced by 50% if you pay within the first two weeks.

These figures have remained the same for the past ten years and show that the price of a ticket hasn’t increased the income generated.

Dick Pascoe represents the Folkestone Central Ward, an area which includes The Leas: “Whatever we do some people will ignore the parking signs and not pay. It is only right that these people are fined as there is several methods of payment available.

“With the increase in traffic throughout the district some form of control is needed. We have tried to balance the cost of parking with the requirement, hence parking in the Sandgate Road car park is cheap and highly successful.”

The financial year 2016/17 was when the greatest number of fines were issued, with over 21,000 PCNs ensuring the council made well over £600,000.