£264,605 - that’s the value of town car parks to district council

The price is right:  Could car parks be among the assets that Horncastle Town Council could  gain  from district council control?
The price is right: Could car parks be among the assets that Horncastle Town Council could gain from district council control?

Income from four East Lindsey District Council-owned car parks in Horncastle smashed through the quarter of a million pound barrier in the last financial year.

The top earner for the authority was the Bain (Tesco) car park which generated £193,896 in the year leading up to last May.

At the other end of the scale, the Cattle Market/Wong car park recorded a loss of £3,685 after only taking £800 in parking fees.

In all, income from the Bain, St Lawrence Street, the Market Place and the Cattle Market/Wong was £264,605.

Once expenses were deducted - including an income sharing agreement with Tesco for the Bain - the council banked a surplus of £154,897.

Now, it has emerged the district council could be open to transferring some car park responsibilities (and income) to Horncastle Town Council.

Horncastle is the first town in East Lindsey to hold discussions with the district council about an ‘asset transfer’.

Talks with other towns start in coming months.

The district council has drawn up a document listing all of its assets in Horncastle, including car parks, areas of land, and buildings.

Town councillors discussed details at a meeting earlier this month - and the possibility of taking on some of the district council’s responsibilities.

Councillors admitted they were interested in car parks with surplus revenue being ploughed into improving facilities in the town.

However, town council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said he doubted whether ELDC would hand over any assets that made a profit.

It is also thought town and parish councils do not have any powers to enforce parking regulations.

However, ELDC spokesman James Gilbert said transferring ‘some car parks’ to town councils was a possibility.

In the case of Horncastle, he ruled out the Bain (Tesco) car park, saying the surplus of almost £97,000 was needed to deliver vital services.

Mr Gilbert revealed car parking raised district wide revenue of more than £1m for the authority,

He also said the district council was open to suggestions from the town council regarding the transfer of other assets in Horncastle, including sports grounds, leisure facilities , The Wong and Bain Valley Park.

Another possibility could be the public toilets in St Lawrence Street, although figures in the transfer asset report show they made a loss of almost £16,000 with business rates a major factor.

Mr Gilbert said: “We have met the town council and it was positive.”

Transferring assets would reduce ELDC’s financial outlay, but Mr Gilbert said town councils often claimed they could run facilities better.

Horncastle Town Council has formed a working group to decide which assets it might want to take on.

Coun Burbidge said: “I’m sure ELDC will be selective. They are not going to give away anything that makes money.”

Details of each car park (brackets denotes surplus after expenses)

•Bain - £193,896 (£96,833)

•St Lawrence - £49,428 (£45,674)

•Market Place - £49,428 (£16,255).

Cattle Market - £800 (-£3,865)