Fee increases for allotments and beach huts?
ROTHER District Council is currently spending more than £35,000 a year to operate beach huts, but only getting £30,000 in income from hirers.
Similarly, it is subsidising allotments - paying out £110 and £220 a year respectively or small and large plots, but charging just £25 and £52.
Both huts and plots are discretionary or non-statutory services provided by Rother, and not required by law.
Faced with a need to make £1.5 million savings over the next two years, the council is now looking to shift more of the cost onto users.
Officers are suggesting allotment holders should pay more of the actual cost, so that taxpayers’ money can be diverted to services used by more people.
This could see fees for a small plot rise from £25 to £45 a year, and from £52 to £85 for a large allotment.
With beach huts, the aim would be to move towards their provision being cost neutral, and this would add £50 to the fee currently charged to hirers.
Cabinet , which next meets on Monday, March 18, will consider if it is fair for all Rother residents to pick up most of the bill for something a minority use.
Rother’s chief exercutive, Derek Stevens, said: “These are just some of the very tough choices facing our councillors as a direct result of the massive cut in our funding from Government.
“Just over 10 years ago our Government grant covered 63 per cent of our expenditure: it now covers less than 36 per cent.
“Fee increases aren’t something we take any pleasure in recommending. Councillors must decide if it is right to subsidise beach huts and allotments with taxpayers’ money or if users should pay a bit more of the true cost.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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