INCOME from Christchurch council’s car parks has been boosted by tens of thousands of pounds as a result of the summer weather.

Despite a fall in the number of people using car parks aimed at shoppers, there was a seven per cent increase in payments at its more weather-dependent ‘amenity’ facilities.

Combined with a rise in income from permits and fines, the council is forecasting that it will be £61,000 better-off than it had predicted at the beginning of the year.

Since April, just over £2 million has been brought in through the authority’s parking services and it is expecting to earn another £925,000 before the end of March, according to its annual car parks report.

Although its biggest source of income – its shopper-focused car parks – is below budget predictions, the council is predicting that its income from parking charges this year will be £61,000 more than forecast at the beginning of the year.

A report to the council’s resources committee says: “Car park income is forecast to exceed the budget, mainly attributed to the effect of the exceptional summer weather for the amenity car parks.

“This did not extend to the shoppers’ car parks as anticipated.”

Between April and September, the council earned £632,000 from its town centre pay and display facilities and it is expected to double to £1.3 million by the end of the financial year.

‘Amenity’ car parks have provided almost £1.1 million for the council over the same period with this figure forecast to rise by £227,000.

Permits and fines have boosted the council’s coffers by just under £300,000.

The annual report also outlines ongoing work to ‘reconfigure’ its town centre car parks to provide about 104 extra spaces, in order to offset the loss of its Bargates site.

A tender for the final phase of the project, including changes at its Bridge Street, Leisure Centre West and Stony Lane sites, is expected to be put out in December with the council aiming to have work completed by the end of March.