NET income from council-owned car parks has risen 189 per cent since 2013/14, while spending on roads has fallen by half over the same period.

Blackburn with Darwen Council brought in £832,000 from its car parks last year compared with £262,000 in 2013/14. And according to figures compiled by price comparison site, the council forked out £3.1million on roads last year, down from £6m in 2013/14.

Cllr Phil Riley, said the figures reflected the rise in popularity of Blackburn town centre and large scale road improvement projects which were completed in 2013/14. He said: “The figures are skewed because of capital schemes we carried out in 2013/14. That explains the fall in spending. At that point in time we were doing some significant schemes like Furthergate and Wainwright Way.

“The level of spending on every day road schemes is fairly constant.

“Car parking charges are going up and the rise also reflects that Blackburn town centre is increasingly popular. I have seen the figures for Christmas and they are very good.”

Across Lancashire, net income from parking fell from £3.91m in 2013/14 to £3.86m last year. And spending on county roads fell 33 per cent from £46.7m in 2013/14 to £34m last year.

Across the country, the annual surplus produced from council parking operations has risen by £165 million over the past five years despite cuts in road improvements.

In total, £847 million was generated from the parking of Britain’s local authorities during the 2017/18 financial year, research found. This is up from £682 million in 2013/14, the analysis of council data indicated.

The investigation also suggested that the money spent by local authorities on repairing roads fell from £2.8 billion to £2.4 billion over the same period.According to the study, local authorities in 101 out of 176 counties or areas have increased their net income from parking and 87 have reduced road spending. motoring editor Amanda Stretton said: “While councils are often justified in charging for parking and issuing fines for illegal parking, many motorists are confused about why this money isn’t being re-invested into our roads.

“Poor road conditions is a major concern for drivers, with roads riddled with potholes and unclear markings, it’s no wonder drivers want councils to be putting more into making these better.”

Martin Tett, of the Local Government Association, representing 370 councils, said: “Any income raised through on-street parking charges and parking fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £9billion roads repair backlog.”

“This report completely ignores central Government funding reductions.

“Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 57p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services, which is a much more significant source of funding for roads than surplus parking income.

“Surplus parking income is not the only source of money for roads and not all transport spend is spent on roads but can still be helpful to motorists, such as supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion.

“Councils are on the side of motorists and shoppers when setting parking policies which aim to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.”