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Parking boss who oversaw bumper profits axed to save council money
The man who oversaw a bumper year for parking fines in the borough has been let go as part of a cost-cutting scheme.
Kingston Council’s interim parking manager John McArdle’s 12-month contract was not renewed at the beginning of this month, and his job will not be filled, a council spokesman said.
Kingston’s £4,856,982 fines revenue in 2013 put it fourth out of 187 councils from across the UK which supplied figures, behind Haringey, Barnet and Westminster.
It also took more than £800,000 between September and March after taking over the enforcement of moving violations fines from police, including for stopping in box junctions.
The council spokesman added: “We thank [Mr McArdle] for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”
Liberal Democrat council leader Councillor Liz Green said: “It’s not about raising money.
“It’s about enforcing traffic regulations, which are there for a reason.
“I don’t see an irony.”
Mr McArdle told the Comet: “I’d say that the impact of the current financial climate is wide ranging, but it would be improper of me to comment on how it might affect the council.
“In terms of my own activity I was particularly pleased with successfully taking over the enforcement of moving traffic contraventions from the police and improving links between the service and the business community.”
But David Mark, of Berrylands, who was hit with a box junction fine last year, said: “Cost can’t be a legitimate reason since they’re already collecting such huge sums from the public.
“They need to be managing the whole process in a thorough and competent way. It needs to be staffed by senior managers. Otherwise, what hope is there for the people who use Kingston’s roads?”
As honorary treasurer of the British Parking Association, Mr McArdle told members in a budget speech last year that belts were being tightened in the “age of austerity”.
A keen tweeter, he only occasionally talks shop online, though he praised improvements in car park management, and noted a particularly egregious instance of bad parking in which an ice cream van had ignored double red lines and no-parking cones.
Councillors decided in February that management of Kingston Council-owned car parks, like the Rose and the Cattle Market, will be handed to a private contractor, and responsibility for enforcing street parking bays would be negotiated jointly with Sutton Council.
Between 2008 and 2013 the council issued more than 200,000 parking fines worth more than £8.7m.
By law, profit from the fines must go to fund off-street parking, road maintenance, public transport, or projects approved by the Mayor of London.
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