Dorset Council raised nearly £10 million in parking fees and charges last year, new government figures have revealed.

Figures released by the Department of Levelling-Up, Housing, and Communities show a total of £6,140,000 was made after expenses from parking from April 2022 to March 2023.

This was before Dorset Council’s controversial decision to increase parking charges, particularly amongst its coastal towns, as Weymouth saw a huge rises in prices over the summer.

Dorset Council has said it will be putting the money back into its car parks and highways across the county.

A spokesperson said: “We don't generate a profit from parking.

"Our parking income is re-invested into the running of our parking service and the maintenance of the car parks and on-street parking places. Any surplus is spent on highway improvements."

Dorset Echo:

Nigel Sims-Duff, who runs the Palm House café in Weymouth town centre, campaigned against the summer price hikes and has invited the council to improve the car parks in the seaside town.

He said: “I would welcome it to be spent on Weymouth car parks as they need better signage, landscaping and maintenance.

“They will have to put their money where their mouth is with Weymouth car parks.”

When plans were announced to increase parking charges across Dorset, Councillor Ray Bryan said the aim was to bring in ‘extra income to help meet the rising costs’ of the authority's parking service and maintenance.

The government data revealed that it cost just over £3.5 million to run and maintain its parking service, whilst more than £9.7 million was generated in sales, fees and charges.

The council has also claimed it has been unable to produce any evidence to show whether increased parking charges this year at resort towns has had a negative effect on footfall.

This is something that Mr Sims-Duff does not agree with, however.

He added: “For May, June, September and October, I am 20 per cent down. It’s a worry if the council continue with this policy of fleecing the day sector."

Mr Sims-Duff believes that the parking charges should be reduced next summer, and the hours extended, whilst charging slightly more in other places across the county. He says that the prices in Weymouth are ‘taking advantage’ of its residents and visitors.

He continued: “The revenue has not come equally from across the county. Weymouth people are paying a higher price to go about their business. I don’t think it will be sustainable, but we’ll see.

“It has all been generated by the daytime businesses like shops and cafes, you won’t see restaurants complaining about parking.

“It’s the shops and cafes in the daytime, their customers are paying the price - it’s totally unjust.”