Rother’s council charges to rise from cost of green bin collections to annual parking permits
Plans to increase charges for a wide range of council services have been given the go ahead by Rother’s cabinet.
On Monday (November 8), Rother District Council cabinet members agreed to both increase what the authority charges for a number of its services in the next financial year and introduce a number of new charges.
A notable increase would be to the cost of annual parking permits as well, although not for its long-stay car parks in an effort to encourage their use.
The cost of an annual permit which can be used at any council car park would increase from £819 to £858 per year, while the cost of annual permit for a single nominated car park would increase from £323 to £350 per year.
The parking permit proposals saw a great deal of discussion with Paul Courtel (Ind) asking cabinet to go further in encouraging the use of the long-stay car parks over town centre car parks.
Cllr Courtel said this could include a significant price cut to cost of the permit at the Wainwright Road car park and signs to divert motorists from the De La Warr carpark.
This view was disputed by cabinet member for finance Kevin Dixon, however, who argued the issue was not the long-stay being too expensive, but that the other car parks were too cheap when compared to other local authorities.
He said: “I’m afraid I’m the curmudgeon here again tonight to say we do not have the wiggle room in our budget to cut prices.
“I wish we would, I wish we could do a lot, but we simply do not that capability in the budget. We need to be raising as much money as we possibly can yet keeping it affordable for our residents.
“We need to ensure our costs are covered and we are not out of step with our neighbours.”
While increasing the cost of parking permits, the council is not intending to increase its pay and display fees at the same time.
It says this largely because it is unclear what impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on demand and the cost of altering the prices would be somewhere in the region of £8,000 to £10,000.
The only exception would be the summer tariffs at Camber Western car park, which are set to increase.
Even with the increase, the council says cost of a permit would remain cheaper than buying a pay and display ticket for regular users.
Other services set to increase in price include: booking fees for tennis courts and sports pitches; the cost of holding events on council-owned land; allotment rents; cemetery fees; commercial fishing boat site fees; and sailing/angling boat site fees.
Most of the increased charges are set to rise by 4.8 per cent, which the council says is intended to cover the cost of inflation.
Another notable increase would be the transfer fee the council charges when beach huts change hands. Currently the council charges either ten per cent of the sale price or a minimum charge £1,583.
This minimum charge would increase to £2,000 under the proposals.
The cost of annual beach hut licences are also set to increase, from £530 to £560. The seasonal tent site licences would increase at a lower rate, increasing from £368 to £386.
The council would also increase the cost of garden waste collections from £45 to £50 per annum
The proposals also include a number of brand new charges for things which were previously free.
For example, the council would begin charging groups to use its public spaces for outdoor activity sessions.
The council says it is introducing these charges as it has a duty of care for people using its land in this way and it needs to be assured the activities are safe and that appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.
Even so, the charges would differentiate between commercial and charity operators.
The council would also start charging for out-of-season (October to March) bookings at its tennis courts in Egerton Park. The council would begin charging 75p for members of the public and £1 for coaches during these colder months.
Coaches would also be expected to begin paying an annual £50 administration fee enabling their Lawn Tennis Association credentials to be checked.
As is currently the case, people can also access courts free of charge as long as they are not in use by a paying customer.