For some time, we have been seeking clarification about how parking charge and parking penalty income will be collected and what will happen to it, if these measures are imposed at Newlands Corner.
Surrey County Council (SCC) has, at last, confirmed that:
- income from car park charges at Newlands Corner would be collected by Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) and would become part of the total income for the SCC Countryside Estate. SWT already collects all income generated from the Estate;
- the money would be collected by a cash collection service provider;
- money collected from Newlands Corner would be used to fund future management of the SCC Countryside Estate, priority being given to managing Newlands Corner. Any excess funds over and above the running costs would be used to invest in maintaining and improving visitor facilities and enhancing habitats across the Estate;
- SCC has agreed with SWT that the money raised from the whole of the SCC Countryside Estate will be spent on the SCC Countryside Estate. However, if there was a substantial additional windfall, how this would be used would be dealt with on an individual basis;
- an enforcement company would collect money from parking penalties and would use the income to cover the costs of its services;
- the level of penalties has yet to be agreed. It would be finalised when SCC knew what date car park charging might be introduced;
- on accountability, SWT’s accounts are audited and Surrey County Council has access to the SWT’s detailed accounts;
- SCC will not be providing an annual contribution to Surrey Wildlife Trust from 2021. SWT has provided a draft Business Plan that shows it would be possible to reach this position in 2021;
- SCC may invest money in the future for specific projects.
This confirms, yet again, that SCC is seeking income well above the needs of Newlands Corner and is, therefore, imposing a tax on mainly Guildford residents to pay for areas across the whole of Surrey. The last bullet point is ominous – the words “visitor centre” and “retail space” spring to mind.