Agenda item - Fees and Charges 2018/19

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Agenda item

Fees and Charges 2018/19

Joint report of the Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture and the Executive Director Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing

Decision:

1)            That Committee approves the proposed fees and charges for 2018/19 as set out within the report and its appendices.

 

2)            That Committee delegates authority to the Executive Director of Economy, Environment & Culture (in relation to paragraphs 3.4-3.6 and 3.10-3.14) and to the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (in relation to paragraphs 3.7-3.9) to increase any charges for fees as notified and set by central Government during the year.

Minutes:

51.1      The Committee considered a joint report of the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture and the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing that set out the proposed 2017/18 fees and charges for the service areas covered by the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee in accordance with corporate regulations and policy. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture noted an error on page 28 of the agenda and the banding of 50% discount for resident, traders and business permits would reduce from under 110g/km to under 120g/km rather than 100g/km.

 

51.2      Councillor West stated his surprise that the administration had decided on a 2% rise in fees and charges when the consumer index was rising at 3% and the retail index rising at 4%. Councillor West expressed his concern that the proposed fees and charges were not increasing in line with rising costs. Councillor West stated that the current administration had made constant criticisms of the previous administration in relation to parking surplus yet that surplus had risen from £9m to £14m in the first two years of their administration. Councillor West noted that visitor parking permits in Zones M, W and Z were proposed to rise by 29% yet there were many low-income households in those zones. Councillor West believed that the equality implications of that proposed rise should be reviewed. In addition, Councillor West observed that fees and charges for Travellers were proposed to rise by 3.9% which was above the general rise of 2%. Councillor West believed this to be an unacceptable measure upon one the most vulnerable communities in society and contradicted the Traveller Strategy that outlined the need for stability and encouragement of travellers to occupy the transit and permanent site. Councillor West felt the proposed increases were unjustifiable and would lead to an equalities challenge.

 

51.3      The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture clarified that the proposed fees and charges were a mixture of 0%, 2% and 4% rises, with the approach taken by officers set out at paragraphs 3.1- 3.3 of the report. In relation to fees and charges for the traveller sites, the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture stated that to his knowledge, cost was not a barrier to entry to the transit or permanent site and some of those housed at the later would be entitled to housing benefit. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture supplemented that the permanent site costs compared favourably with other council tenancy costs.

 

51.4      Councillor Wares stated that he agreed with the comments made by Councillor West regarding increase to visitor permits. Councillor Wares noted that the cost of visitor permits for Zones N, Y and Z had risen by 50% over the past two years that was pushing the costs of visitor permits close to the cost of on-street parking. Councillor Wares believed this to be unfair opportunism rather than controlling demand. Councillor Wares stated that whilst overall the approach to fees and charges did accord with the corporate policy, there was a clear targeted approach. Councillor Wares stated that whilst everything that could be done to improve air quality should be done, the 25% increase on high emission vehicles, was in his view, discriminatory and unfair and only targeting a very select group of residents in certain zones, specifically those that could not afford to buy a more modern car. Councillor Wares likened the increase to a permit pollution tax that affected a small group of residents rather than commercial operators passing through the city, visitors to the city and those outside controlled parking zones that similarly had high emission vehicles. Councillor Wares believed that a serious approach to air quality should come through a properly considered report. Referring to appendix 5 of the report that covered allotment and sports fees, Councillor Wares stated that the cash value in the increase in fees was insignificant in his view. Councillor Wares stated that he believed the 4% rise was an attempt to retrieve the freeze of the previous year and whilst this might not appear a significant increase, he felt it would be a tipping point for some service users. 

 

51.5      The Chair answered that there would be a report submitted to a future meeting of the committee detailing all of the work currently being undertaken on air quality.

 

51.6      Councillor Littman stated that whilst most increases in fees were reasonable or an inflationary rise, a few were not. Councillor Littman believed that the increase in charges for Regency Square Car Park could change the cost ratio between on and off street parking that could lead to a dangerous impact on congestion in the area. Councillor Littman agreed with the comments made in relation to the increase in visitor permits that he believed would impact most upon the elderly and vulnerable and represented an equalities issue. Councillor Littman also agreed with the observations made regarding fees for traveller sites adding that whilst he welcomed the assurance provided by the Executive Director, there had to be absolute certainty that fees would not deter occupancy. Councillor Littman expressed his disappointment in the 4% rise in sports fees as the economic and social benefits of health and activity were well established. 

 

51.7      In relation to the question raised on Regency Square Car Park, the Head of Parking Services clarified that there was very little pay and display or shared bays in the locality and the limited parking was for up to a four hour period only. The Head of Parking Services added that a budget impact equality assessment was undertaken for all parking charges.

 

51.8      In relation to fees for manual renewal of scaffolding licences, Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked for clarification on the significant difference in fees for under 12m and over 12m. Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked for confirmation of what the parking charges for would be for the new CPZ Area L.

 

51.9      The Assistant Director- City Transport answered that there was an online process for applications for scaffolding licences and the necessity for manual renewal of scaffolding licences related to the need for officers to attend the site to check the licence was valid. It was often found that the licences had expired and therefore, officer time was required to prepare an issue a new one.

 

51.10   Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked why additional checks were required if the licence information was retained via the online system.

 

51.11   The Assistant Director- City Transport clarified that the approach was one of proactive regulation to ensure that the contractor was putting scaffolding up and taking it down within the set period and to ensure the highway was clear and properly managed. The Head of Parking Services clarified that the implementation of CPZ Area L had been brought forward at the request of ward councillors into the 2017/18 financial year. The price of a visitor permit would be £3.50 and it had been outlined in the consultation document that any prices would be subject to the annual parking permit review.

 

51.12   Councillor Wares noted the substantial rise in traders permits and asked officers if they were aware of how many permit holders this would apply to.

 

51.13   The Head of Parking Services replied that a precise figure was not known but traders permits applied to approximately 6% of all permits issued.

 

51.14   Councillor Peltzer Dunn stated that he did not understand why there were two separate charges for attended greens and unattended greens as a season ticket holder was permitted to bowl on any green in the city.

 

51.15   The Parks & Open Spaces Operations officer clarified that the difference in price represented the better service provided at attended greens.

 

51.16   RESOLVED-

 

1)            That Committee approves the proposed fees and charges for 2018/19 as set out within the report and its appendices.

 

2)            That Committee delegates authority to the Executive Director of Economy, Environment & Culture (in relation to paragraphs 3.4-3.6 and 3.10-3.14) and to the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (in relation to paragraphs 3.7-3.9) to increase any charges for fees as notified and set by central Government during the year.

Supporting documents:

 


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