THURROCK Council lost more than £150,000 on parking in the last financial year – despite issuing more penalty charge notices.

The council made £259,572 through penalty charges, compared with £204,944 the year before.

However, according to the annual parking report, it suffered a deficit of £152,545 last year, compared to bringing in an income of £78,374 in the previous 12 months.

The report said the loss came down to increased expenditure.

This included the set-up and operational costs of the CCTV enforcement vehicle trial, which cost the council £117,866.

A council spokesman said: “The council was a victim of its own success, combined with changes in Government rules.

“The costs of the CCTV car trial outweighed its income, mainly because its focus on making roads safer for children outside schools was so successful.

“It stopped dangerous and illegal parking there to such a degree that the income did not meet expectations.”

Councillors decided they would not continue with the CCTV enforcement vehicles in July after the Government banned them from enforcing on-street parking tickets on their own.

Another reason contributing to the loss last year was an increase in theft from and vandalism to parking ticket machines and the removal of certain parking permit charges.

However, the council spokesman said it was difficult to be specific about the costs of vandalism.

He said: “Some minor vandalism can be fixed quickly and cheaply, almost ‘there and then’ by the enforcement officers, while more major incidents can put a machine out of order for some time and, in this case, only an estimate of the lost income can be made.

“On occasion, the machines themselves have been lifted and taken away, again increasing the cost of replacement and down time. Each machine has to be made to order and a replacement can take some months.”

As a result of the deficit, a management review of parking and enforcement will be undertaken with a view to improve efficiency.