How much do councils in Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough make or lose from car parking?
Kettering Council made a profit of more than Â£250,000 from their car parks last year.
Data from the RAC Foundation shows the authority, which froze its charges until 2021 after a long-awaited review, had a parking operations surplus of more than a quarter-of-a-million pounds (£258,000) for the fifth year running.
The only Northamptonshire councils to have a bigger surplus for the year 2017-2018 were Northamptonshire County Council (£1,241,000) and Northampton Borough Council (£1,037,000).
Elsewhere in the north of the county Corby Council made a profit for the first time since 2013-2014 having broken even every year since.
Their surplus was £26,000.
Both East Northamptonshire Council and Wellingborough Council, whose car parks are free to use, made losses from parking operations.
East Northamptonshire Council made a loss of £50,000 with Wellingborough Council making a loss of £316,000.
Respective council leaders Steven North and Martin Griffiths have previously spoken of their desire to keep car parking free.
With the four councils likely to make up a new unitary authority for the north of the county split on whether to charge for car parking, future fees could go either way.
The RAC figures show Buckinghamshire council made the biggest loss on car parking in England (£1.7m).
Westminster City Council made the biggest profit (£57.5m).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “When totted up council parking income amounts to a multi-million-pound business.
“Our purpose in publishing this analysis is not to suggest the existence of any sharp practice, but to encourage motorists to seek out and read their own local authority’s annual parking report – and ask some pointed questions if their authority doesn’t publish one.
“We think it is important that motorists check for themselves whether their own council’s explanation of the level of charges, penalties and details of how the net income is then spent reflects, as it should, the use of parking controls purely as a tool to manage traffic.”
This week Kettering Council has announced it will be making improvements to their payment machines by including a contactless option.
Machine improvements will take place over the course of a week in the council’s car parks at London Road, Wadcroft, Commercial Road, School Lane (except pop and shop bays), Queen Street and Commercial Road for a week from January 7.
The council says during the week there will be some limitations on parking whilst construction work is undertaken to remove the existing machines and replace these with new ones.
Customers will still have the option to pay by phone throughout the works, using the PayByPhone app. There will be no changes to the current tariffs.
Shirley Plenderleith, head of public services at Kettering Council, said: “We will do our utmost to minimise the disruption to the public while the new machines are installed. During this week, wardens will be available in the car parks to assist customers and ensure that they are not unnecessarily inconvenienced.”
Cllr Mark Dearing, Kettering Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “Kettering Council’s car parks are the safest and most convenient way of parking close to the town centre shops, restaurants and amenities and the new contactless payment machines will ensure parking is even quicker and easier.”