Car parks rake in £5m for coast

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Car parking revenue along the Yorkshire coast has risen in the last year to almost £5m as the area continues to see a boom in visitors flocking to seaside towns such as Whitby and Scarborough.

A new report featuring an update on Scarborough Borough Council’s off-street parking operation for 2016/17 has revealed that the authority’s coffers were boosted by a total of £4,842,877 - a £196,752 increase on the previous year.

Tourism chiefs have attributed the rise to a major drive by organisations, such as Welcome to Yorkshire, to host more events on the coast, alongside the launch of new attractions, as well as a concerted effort from businesses to boost trade.

Janet Deacon, Scarborough Borough Council tourism manager and area director for Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “While parking income is influenced by a number of factors, we have seen a definite link between the increase in the income and the boom in visitor numbers to the Yorkshire coast in the last couple of years.

“More visitors than ever are choosing day trips, short breaks and holidays in our area, heavily influenced by new attractions such as the Alpamare Water Park, the close proximity of the North York Moors National Park and our year-round festival and events programme, which includes the extended season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre and the Tour de Yorkshire.

“Private sector businesses must also be applauded for their efforts in attracting more visitors, thanks to their investment in accommodation, retail, attractions, restaurants and cafes.

“The contributions from the public and private sectors, working together, are fundamental to the success of the Yorkshire coast as a top visitor destination.”

Borough councillor John Nock, cabinet member for strategic transport, transport services and ICT, is set to approve the report for publication tomorrow.

He said: “We are a favoured resort, with towns such as Filey, Scarborough, Whitby, Runswick Bay and Staithes. That makes a difference as people do want to come here and that’s why revenue has gone up.”

The money raised from the off-street car parks, which have a total of 9,285 spaces, is ploughed back into the council’s overall budget, a spokesperson for the authority said.

The statistics also revealed that the council had raked in £123,918 in parking fines during the same period after a total of 5,294 penalty tickets were issued.

However, only 3,589 - 68 per cent - were actually paid, according to the report, with income generated from the fines going towards covering the costs of the authority’s parking enforcement.

Last week The Yorkshire Post revealed that tourism bosses were stepping up a campaign to attract new enterprise to the Yorkshire coast as part of an ambitious 10-year plan aimed at boosting the economy by millions of pounds.

The Visitor Economy Strategy, which was drawn up for the borough of Scarborough in 2014, sets out ways in which the economy can build on a tourism industry, which sustains 17,000 jobs and brings in about £524m annually to the district. Since its launch, the figures have risen from more than 15,000 jobs and a total income of about £470m.

It is hoped the upwards trend will continue towards a target of 18,625 jobs and an economic boost of £755m by 2024. The strategy will be handed out to prospective business owners looking to set-up on the coast along with five new films promoting the area.