SHOCK figures have revealed Wyre Forest District Council raked in a hefty £1.4 million from its car parks in the district in just a year.

The revelation will raise further questions about the latest controversial price hike which came into force on October 1.

The authority made the gross income, which included a staggering £947,591 from parking meters, for the year 2011-12. The sum included £72,613 from parking fines in car parks and £94,726 from on-street enforcement fines.

A substantial amount also came from staff and members’ car parking passes (£72,420), senior citizens’ concessionary passes (£9,067), season tickets (£120,853), rents (£600) and management fees (£117,605).

That gave the council a profit of £429,875 for 2011-12 – £100,000 more than 2009-10 but £33,000 less than it collected in 2010-2011.

Conservative councillor Marcus Hart, the district council’s cabinet member for environmental services, defended the figures and explained that any surplus income the council made was reinvested into council services.

“It doesn’t disappear into some black hole,” he told The Shuttle.

The figures were revealed after a Freedom ofInformation request from Shuttle reader Michael de Groot, who was angered by the hike in parking charges earlier thismonth.

The figures will come as a shock to residents and local traders fearful of how the rise will affect shops in Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley.

Many fear it will lead to people avoiding car parks in the district and a subsequent downturn in trade.

Mr de Groot, of Stourport, who has set up a petition in a bid to get the latest increase overturned, said: “I had no idea that the income was so big.

“The actual income for all car parks is nearly £1.5million.It’s still leaving the council with a very handsome profit of £430,000.

“If the council is making that much from car parking then why do we need the increase? They don’t need to increase the car park charges – they are making more than enough money fromcar parks.”

Mr Hart explained there was no increase in parking charges in October last year following a car parking review.

“There’s effectively been a halt until this October,” he said. “The increases that came into effect on October 1 were approved as part of the budget-setting process in February.”

He added the district council was “significantly” increasing the amount of free parking in the district throughout the Christmas period this year.

People can sign Mr de Groot’s petition online at stop-carpark-charge-increase-inwyre-forest