Northampton Borough Council is one of the vast majority of local authorities in England with a surplus from parking charges, with nearly £1.4 million in its coffers in 2011-12.
Figures released by the RAC Foundation showed English councils had a total current account surplus of £565 million from their on and off-street parking operations, up £54 million on 2010-11.
The data comes from the annual returns councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The surplus in 2011-12 was £1,398,000 in 2011-12, down from £2,438,000 in 2010-11. This is the 111th highest figure in the country.
Northampton and Kettering borough councils are the only local authorities in the county to have a surplus. All the other councils have deficits of between £67,000 and £284,000.
Parking enforcement and on-street parking are the responsibility of Northamptonshire County Council, and Northampton Borough Council is only responsible for the off-street car parks owned by the council.
Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston), cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning said: “Parking is an important part of our town centre; attracting shoppers and visitors to our town, and supporting local businesses. In the last two years we have reduced the cost of parking in our car parks, and introduced free parking schemes to encourage more people into Northampton.
“And this month motorists using St John’s, St Michael’s and the Mayorhold car parks will be able to park for free all day on Saturdays and Sundays, and we have doubled our weekday free parking offer to two hours.
“Any money we receive through our car parks is reinvested back into protecting frontline services and keeping council tax low for all residents.”
The authority with the biggest income is Westminster Council in London which made a surplus of £41.6 million in 2011-12.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “For many local authorities, parking charges are a nice little earner, especially in the capital.
“Not all authorities make big sums. Several run a current account deficit and indeed of those with surpluses many will see the money vanish when capital expenditure is taken into account.
“But the bottom line is hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges and the drivers who are paying them have a reasonable expectation to see the cash spent on improving the roads.”
Figures for other Northamptonshire councils
Kettering Borough Council - £387,000 surplus
Northamptonshire County Council - £127,000 deficit
Daventry District Council - £148,000 deficit
South Northamptonshire Council - £4,000 deficit
Corby Borough Council - £5,000 deficit
Wellingborough Borough Council - £284,000 deficit
East Northamptonshire Council - £67,000 deficit