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Parking Tickets in Guildford Have Almost Doubled – Nearly £500,000 Collected

Published on: 11 Jun, 2024
Updated on: 12 Jun, 2024

By Emily Dalton

local democracy reporter

The number of parking tickets issued in Guildford has almost doubled in the last financial year and parking remains one of Guildford Borough Council’s main income streams.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the Guildford streets where most parking tickets are issued have been named 

In the last six years, GBC has collected over £3.5 million from punishing motorists with penalty charge notices (PCNs).

The council responded to an FOI request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), which showed that income generated by parking restrictions increased almost two-fold with £467,904 (and counting) being recovered in 2023/24 up from £235,133 collected the year before.

Surrey County Council took responsibility for road traffic enforcement in Guildford in 2023/24. Guildford saw a doubling of PCNs being issued for car parking PCNs from just over 9,000 in 2022/23 to nearly 19,000 in 2023/24.

Guildford council was in charge of off-street PCNs (for breaking public car parking restrictions) and on-street PCNs (for breaking road traffic rules) from 2018/19- 2022/23. Between these years a total of over £3.1 million was generated.

SCC and GBC handed out a total of 124,051 PCNs from the financial years 2018/19 to 2023/24. The figure has hiked up from 5,093 PCNs for public car park rule-breaking in 2020/21 to 18,901 PCNs issued by the council in 2023/24.

Guildford High Street, one of the seven streets where most tickets were issued. Parking is only possible outside the hours when the barriers prevent motor vehicle access.

Explaining why the number of PCNs have sharply increased over the last five years, a Guildford council spokesperson said the period of 2020-21 was significantly affected by the pandemic. Parking charges and parking controls were suspended completely for a number of months to reflect the national emergency. A council spokesperson added: “As usage of our car parks has recovered since the pandemic, so has the number of motorists that do not to comply with the parking fees.”

Data provided by the council also revealed the top seven streets where the most PCNs were handed out between 2018/19- 2023/24 in Guildford. The streets are listed below:

  1. High Street
  2. Bedford Road
  3. Castle Street
  4. Quarry Street
  5. Woodbridge Road
  6. North Street
  7. Millmead

Overall, the council generated £29.2 million in revenue from issuing PCNs in Guildford from 2018/19 to 2023/24. A breakdown of the revenue it has collected from issuing PCNs is summarised below:

  • 2018/19: £713,816
  • 2019/20: £760,777
  • 2020/21: £443,347
  • 2021/22: £548,507
  • 2022/23: £651,679
  • 2023/24: £467,904 (income still being recovered for car parking PCNs)

The FoI request also revealed how many PCNs the council issued in Guildford in every financial year since 2018/19. This is set out below:

  • 2018/19: 26,771 PCNs
  • 2019/20: 28,687 PCNs
  • 2020/21: 14,187 PCNs
  • 2021/22: 15,927 PCNs
  • 2022/23: 19,578 PCNs
  • 2023/24: 18,901 PCNs (only car parking PCNs)

All income generated from PCNs goes into the council’s parking account, which is required by law to be spent on transport-related projects – including highways improvements and maintenance.

A spokesperson for Guildford Borough Council said. “Our enforcement staff now focus on non-compliance issues solely within our car parks [because on-street parking enforcement is managed by Surrey County Council]. This helps to ensure that compliance levels are high and that the car parks are being managed for the benefit of those for whom the facilities are prioritised.”

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Responses to Parking Tickets in Guildford Have Almost Doubled – Nearly £500,000 Collected

  1. Roshan Bailey Reply

    June 11, 2024 at 9:54 pm

    Interesting that the photo caption says “parking is only possible” in the High Street when the barriers allow it, but does this mean parking is allowed and free of charge?

    I recently had a very frustrating time trying to find out when it is allowed, whether free or chargeable, and how to pay if chargeable, but kept getting referred back and forth between GBC and SCC web pages. I played safe and parked in the Castle Car Park in the end.

    • Keith Reeves Reply

      June 12, 2024 at 12:52 pm

      The High Street photo and caption in the article are potentially misleading. Readers could incorrectly assume that the PCNS relating to the High Street were issued for the ‘cobbled’ stretch of the High Street only. The High Street extends from Park Street on the west side of the river to the Epsom Road/London Road roundabout near G Live.

  2. John Dawson Reply

    June 11, 2024 at 10:22 pm

    I presume the £29.2 million collected in total includes car park charges as well as PCNs.

  3. Martin Elliott Reply

    June 11, 2024 at 10:38 pm

    Pity the LDR [local democracy reporter] didn’t take the next step and examine where the Car Park revenue of both normal parking fees as well as PCN are spent.

    Just how much does the provision of on and offstreet parking and car parks cost?

    I use to take an interest in the Park & Ride finance but with Covid and disruptions of “Short Stay”, shopping, and “Long Stay” parking in town, as well as a lack of real data, it just became too difficult.

    Just before Covid, cost savings with Park & Ride had managed to reduce the heavy subsidy to only around 50 per cent taken from in town car parking revenue.

    With battery buses and now hydrogen, I wonder if the true situation is now the Park & Ride is at least breaking even?

  4. F Martin Reply

    June 11, 2024 at 10:52 pm

    Recently I gave a 91-year-old man a lift into central Guildford. We put £5.40 into the parking machine, but it wouldn’t print out a ticket. We needed a space near to where he had to go but were too nervous to stay without a ticket to display. No sign was on the ticket machine indicating it was out of order.

    To cut a long story short, SCC have refused to refund me the money, saying they will credit me only. For my own part I rarely take my car into Guildford and can’t use the credit.

    The protracted saga includes details supporting my view that SCC has been completely obstructive and unhelpful; parking has become a money making opportunity with no positive concern for their residents whatsoever even though fair systems are lacking.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    June 12, 2024 at 9:18 am

    Several roads in Guildford have single lines and no warning notices about legal times when one may park. Apparently free parking is now limited to after 9 PM on some of these roads, rather than 6 PM as people would expect. This is unfair.

  6. H Trevor Jones Reply

    June 12, 2024 at 10:10 am

    I wonder whether the rise is partly due to the more complicated system now Surrey has taken over residents’ visitors’ permits, changing the previous simple paper system to an electronic system I’ve not yet got my head around.

    I understand that I have to apply and pay online (itself a nuisance) for 10 tickets at once whereas it was five which was enough for over a year. But no one has explained how I use a ticket electronically once it is bought and what happens if there’s a computer connection problem at the time it is required. (I can’t cope with apps on a smartphone but probably could do it on a website on my PC if someone can explain how.)

  7. Frank Emery Reply

    June 12, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    If they, the wardens, or whatever they’re called these days, came down Woodbridge Hill every day they would get an awful lot more.

  8. S Callanan Reply

    June 12, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    I’m both puzzled and cross that to park in GBC off-street car parks (at the George Abbott pub, for example) you have to have coin or to use the Ring Go app. I don’t have, or want, a smartphone so that’s the end of Ring Go for me and I don’t always have the right (or indeed any) coin.

    What’s wrong with contactless cards? You don’t need to faff about with coin or with a smartphone and the transaction takes only seconds. GBC machines used to do contactless but don’t any longer. Is it something to do with cost?

  9. Roger Main Reply

    June 12, 2024 at 7:31 pm

    Great article. Why shop in Guildford?

  10. Alan Judge Reply

    June 13, 2024 at 10:27 am

    I’m not surprised when you see the permanently prowling wardens on the Lower High Street.

    They must issue 30-40 tickets a day on those 16 or so spaces. An absolute cash cow.

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