A Freedom of Information Request seen by The Boar has revealed that the money generated by car parking enforcement at the University has trebled in the last four years.
In the financial year 2014/2015, the University received £15,182 from car parking enforcement but, for the most recent financial year 2017/2018, the University received a total of £42,443.
While the total received trebled over the four year period, the University received £31,713 in 2015/2016, and £21,399 2016/2017, meaning the revenue over the last year four years from car parking enforcement amounts to £110,737.
The University has stated that campus security “do not see the income from the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) charges”, but instead the income is directed to the car parking budget that is managed by the Estates and Management department.
However, the University refused to reveal the campus security budget over the last three years relying on an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which states that public bodies are not obliged to disclose information that could “prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it)”.
In response to the notion of the “commercial interests of the University”, a member of staff from the University said: “More generally, I think this matter also asks the question whether campus security is now more concerned with protecting the Universities commercial interests rather than ours…”
I think this matter also asks the question whether campus security is now more concerned with protecting the Universities commercial interests rather than ours
– Anonymous staff member
“This is also in the context of several other well-publicized debacles in recent times, including the serious overcrowding of the Plaza during the World Cup (permitting far more drinkers onto the concourse than was safe), and overseeing the use of CS gas against students in the lobby of Senate House in 2014 during a peaceful demonstration against tuition fees.”
The member of staff who sent the FOI has not been the only one to express their discontent at the University’s parking enforcement in practice. An email chain between a Warwick Law School professor and other members of staff seen by The Boar showed the professor successfully challenging a fine leveled against them.
The instance allegedly involved the Law School professor parking for “10 minutes” in one of the “20-minute ‘staff drop-off zone’” in front of the Ramphal building to transport a piece of furniture to their office.
As a result, the professor received a £35 parking fine. The professor successfully had the fine rescinded as the enforcers’ interpretation of “drop-off ” is not advertised anywhere, but still told full-time staff, sessional session staff, Emeritus and PhD students at the Law School to “be warned!”.
The professor continued: “it was made all the more galling by the fact that the enforcers chose to ignore a contractor’s van and a courier… both on double yellows nearby. But I guess, they are more essential to the University’s core business…”
We at the SU share students’ concerns around car parking on campus
– Ben Newsham, Democracy and Development Officer
Complaints have also allegedly been made against the University by members of staff and students that car parking enforcement staff recently have exhibited “bullish behavior”.
Car parking procedures and regulations are managed by Campus Security; however, car parking enforcement is policed both by campus security and its subsidiary car-parking arm, both being provided with and using ticket machines.
With regards to the cost of parking on campus, a survey carried out by in The Boar in June revealed that 39.2% of respondents said that the cost of parking is the main reason for which they do not drive to campus.
In terms of lack of parking on campus, the University is currently in the process of developing a new car park at Kirby Corner, featuring around 1,300 spaces, wider parking bays and electric vehicle charging bays, which is scheduled to open early 2019.
Since Monday 1 October, parking on campus using Pay and Display machines has increased from:
On behalf of Warwick SU, Democracy and Development Officer (DDO) Ben Newsham stated: “We at the SU share students’ concerns around car parking on campus. As a result we have been proactive in making sure students concerns, specifically around charges and fines are represented. This has included securing a place for myself on the University’s Car Parking Committee.
“We shall continue to ensure that students’ interests and concerns in this area are monitored and relayed to the University to ensure that students are not being treated unfairly and left out of pocket.”
Update: The University has since responded to The Boar’s request for comment:
“The Campus Security team has a primary focus on safeguarding everyone within the Warwick community and visitors to the University. As part of that focus, the Parking Office works towards the campus being a safe, accessible environment and to provide assistance and information to all those parking at Warwick.
“This includes ensuring that: dropped kerbs are clear so that wheelchair users can use them, vehicles don’t block crossing points causing an inconvenience and a hazard to pedestrians and other road users access is possible for security and emergency service vehicles at all times, and parking charge notices are issued to drivers found to be in breach of regulations, including fraudulent use of parking permits.
“Parking charge notices can only be issued following a ‘grace’ period determined by the type of place where the vehicle is parked. This varies between 5 minutes and 15 minutes across Campus. Once a breach of regulations is detected, a member of parking staff enters the details into a parking charge notice issuing machine and they can then only be issued and printed once that grace period has ended.
“All parking charge notices can be appealed and may be cancelled if sufficient evidence is provided to the Car Parking Partnership/Parking Eye. Details of how to appeal is provided on the bottom of each notice.
“The University of Warwick currently commits £82,453 annually to staff costs in this area and received £42,443 through parking charge notices in the last financial year.”