St Helens Council raked in a profit of almost £25,000 from parking charges this year.
According to research by the RAC Foundation, the authority raised £24,000 in 2013/14, a record surplus from its on and off-street parking activities.
But this is nearly a £100,000 decrease from the year before from fines, permits and tickets. And it’s more than halved in the last four years from 2010/11.
A council spokesman said: “St Helens remains one of the cheapest towns in the North West in which to park.
“The council has deliberately kept prices down as part of our campaign to attract more shoppers into the town centre.
“As well as free parking on Saturdays we also operate a ‘free after 3pm’ scheme during the week. As a result we’ve seen increased footfall among retailers and at local visitor attractions.”
The figures are a lot lower than compared to other neighbouring authorities in the amount they profited from charges, including Wigan Council who raised £1,078,000 this year.
Councils as a whole in England made a combined “profit” of £667m from their on and off-street parking operations. The previous year they made £594m.
RAC Foundation director Prof Stephen Glaister added: “Parking profits seem to be a one-way street for councils, having risen annually for the last five years. Yet over the same period spending on local roads has fallen about a fifth in real terms. We understand the pressures councils are under with their overall income still falling and the level of services they have to provide in such areas as social care rising rapidly.
“The bottom line is that parking policy and charges must be about managing traffic not raising revenue.”