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Ealing and Northfield

Proposed Southall car park will not make a profit and cannot repay its capital cost

Last Thursday councillors had first sight of the officers’ ideas about the income (and expenditure) that could be expected from the new car park in Southall.

The modelling they have done to-date assumes that the car park will have 90 paid for places (plus some free Blue Badge spaces) with the same hours and rates as the existing Herbert Road multi-storey car park. The results are horrendous, see spreadsheet reproduced below.

The council’s officers predict that with the pay by phone mode of payment the car park will produce a net income of £25.64 per month – how wonderfully spurious those 64 pence are? We know from the Hambrough Road experience that this will not work. Putting in one pay and display machine and maintaining it every month will wipe out that “profit”. In the past the council has stated that the car park will cover its costs. What they are saying is that they will borrow £5.323 million at an interest rate of 3% currently, or £160K per annum, and make nothing from it. Council taxpayers will have to repay this over 10 years with no help from the car park itself.

It is understandable that the Council’s officers are gun-shy after they have seen the appalling performance of the temporary car park in Hambrough Road. That temporary car park gives decision makers a chance to change their minds. Will they take it?

3 replies on “Proposed Southall car park will not make a profit and cannot repay its capital cost”

Phil. The report to Scrutiny says “At this stage in the process it is not possible to determine accurately what the potential financial implications will be; this is dependant on the location of the site, the cost of creating the car park and how the site will be used.”

There are quite a few costs which have been missed out.

Will this car park have a lift?

Why do the Hayes and Walshes of this world put their name to political sales puff instead of a professionally argued financial case?

I thought a Councillor had a right to see relevant papers but you say you have been denied access. How does the protocol work? The takings and usage at other parks surely are not confidential are they?

George,

I am glad that between the time the paper was written and the meeting officers decided to divulge the kind of modelling assumptions they are making. If the Labour councillors want to ignore the numbers then that is up to them. They will be punished if they spend up in hard times on a white elephant. You don’t need to add any more costs into this picture. It looks bad enough already!

The car park will not have a lift as it will be a surface car park (ground level!). A multi-storey would be a lot more expensive.

I asked for the Hambrough numbers twice through the written questions process and twice I was told that there were special circumstances (Q&As are published with council minutes). Answers to these questions get written by officers and then signed off by the portfolio holder. Finally, I appealed to the Chief Exec and they were released at the meeting.

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