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£120,000 made from Sandwell Valley parking charges in a year

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | News | Published:

Nearly £120,000 has been made from parking charges at Sandwell Valley Country Park in one year, it can be revealed.

Sandwell Valley

Parking fees were controversially introduced at the popular beauty spot for the first time at the end of 2016.

Figures show Sandwell Council brought in £116,507 up to the end of October.

Drivers who flouted the rules were also made to pay a total of £28,280 in fines over the same period.

The amount peaked over the summer months as families flocked to the sprawling attraction.

Council bosses said all money raised from Sandwell Valley parking payments is put back into the upkeep of the park.

The figures revealed hundreds of drivers who tried to get away without paying or overstayed were slapped with charges - with fines accounting for around a fifth of the total generated.

It means around 550 drivers - more than one a day on average - have been hit with fines.

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Councillor David Hosell, cabinet member for highways and environment, said: “The introduction of the charges has improved the parking situation in Sandwell Valley.

"The money collected from pay and display charges will go towards the continued development of the Sandwell Valley area."

Parking fees were brought in at the West Bromwich site for the first time last November in an attempt by council bosses to raise for money for maintenance of the park.

But the move was unpopular with many visitors, who complained they had never had to pay before.

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Drivers have to pay from 40p for an hour up to £2 for more than four hours. Those who don’t pay face fines of £50.

Penalties can be given to motorists who fail to pay or display a ticket, park correctly in bays or pull up when the park is closed.

Parking charges came in as bosses argued they could no longer afford to pay for the upkeep of Sandwell Valley, including maintenance of the car parks, due to budget cuts.

Charges were brought in at car parks across the site, at Lodge Hill Road, Swan Pool and Forge Mill Farm Visitor Centre daily between 9am and 6pm.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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