Agenda item - Fees and Charges 2020/21

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Agenda item

Fees and Charges 2020/21

Joint report of the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture, the Interim Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing and the Executive Lead Officer, Strategy, Governance & Law


60.1      The Committee considered a joint report of the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture, the Interim Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing and the Executive Lead Officer, Strategy, Governance & Law that set out the proposed 2018/19 fees and charges for the service areas covered by the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee in accordance with corporate regulations and policy.


60.2      Councillor West expressed his disappointment that there was very little in the structure of the fees and charges that focussed on the commitment to carbon neutrality. Councillor West stated his disappointment that there was very little or no overall increase in the parking charges and he believed this should be looked at again. Councillor West noted that there was an unacceptable surcharge in the cost of buying permits on a monthly basis against buying annual permits. Councillor West stated that this was unacceptable as it penalised residents and businesses that couldn’t afford an annual permit due to cash flow issues or those that did not want to buy an annual permit. Councillor West believed this should be corrected through the budget process. With regard to parking charges for parks, Councillor West explained that whilst setting a cheaper tariff compared to the other charges in the CPZ had been a noble intention, the reality was that park car parks had been overloaded precisely because the charges were cheaper than compared to the surrounding area. Councillor West stated the parking charges for parks should be increased subject to recommendation 2.3. Furthermore, Councillor West expressed his disappointment that there was no differentiation in fees and charges for vehicle types and level of emissions, as was used for car tax as it did not encourage people to purchase lower emissions vehicles. Councillor West stated that he believed the committee should defer the decision to Policy & Resources Committee.


60.3      Councillor Wares queried the justification for the increase proposed for garden waste collection when the service wasn’t delivering as expected. In relation to recommendation 2.3, Councillor Wares observed that a recent meeting of the Stanmer Park Working Group had brought up a number of issues that may be difficult to resolve so agreement may take some time.


60.4      In relation to Stanmer Park, the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture replied that he had been given feedback from the meeting however, it was still intended and achievable to meet the deadlines as set out. In relation to garden waste collections, the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture added that there had been a lot of good work made in improving the service area and fees and charges had not been increased in the previous financial year in order to stabilise the service. It was felt that as the service waiting list was about to re-open and the service had been stabilised and improved, it was now appropriate to increase the charge to ensure costs were recovered. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture noted that if agreed, this would be the first price increase since the service had been introduced.


60.5      Councillor Wares stated that he believed the price increases would predominately impact upon those on low income and he was surprised Councillor West was advocating an increase in fees and charges. Councillor Wares expressed his dismay that traders permits would increase by £100 per annum, an act that would further hit businesses in the city. Furthermore, Councillor Wares believed it was an outrage that Doctors permits would rise by 100%, when they were undertaking such an important duty. Councillor Wares observed that whilst he agreed with some aspects of the proposals were good, many of the fees and charges would undoubtably affect those on low income the most and he would therefore, be voting against the recommendations.


60.6      Councillor Brown echoed Councillor Wares objections to the rise in Doctor’s permits. In relation to paragraph 3.10, Councillor Brown did not believe a price increase at the King Alfred Centre was rationale as it would deter people from physical activity and exercise.


60.7      In response to queries from Councillor Heley and Councillor West, it was explained that as no amendments to the report had been received by 10am, procedurally, the committee had three choices available. To vote against the report, which would mean the report would be referred to the Policy & Resources Committee. This was because the 2020/21 budget proposals were developed on the assumption that fees and charges are agreed as recommended and any failure to agree would have an impact on the overall budget proposals, which meant the decision would need to be dealt with by Policy & Resources Committee as per the requirements of the Constitution. The second option would be to abstain and the third option to vote in favour of the report.


60.8      Councillor Lloyd stated that it was correct to introduce fee increases to deter unnecessary car journeys and promote sustainable transport. However, every journey a trader made was a necessary journey and he objected to any increase in this area.


60.9      Councillor Moonan welcomed the report, highlighting key aspects: that parking charges were lower than in neighbouring authorities, that Doctors would be able to park anywhere in the city for £1 per day and that the balance set in the parking fees and charges would help reduce congestion and work toward the overall program of carbon neutrality by 2030. Councillor Moonan noted that the some of the surplus would go directly towards the climate change programme and noted that with ten years of a reducing government grant, local authorities were left with no other option that to look closely at its fees and charges.


60.10   Councillor Wares noted that the council had lost millions of pounds in bad management of Coin Co International and the Shelter Hall project and it was acceptable to punish residents by asking them to pay for those mistakes by increasing fees and charges.


60.11   Councillor West expressed his disappointment in the report proposals as he felt a golden opportunity had been missed to dissuade people from using motor vehicles by raising fees and charges and in turn, raise funding that could be re-invested in sustainable transport infrastructure and projects.


60.12   In response to a further query from Councillor West, the committee received legal and procedural advice on rules for submission of amendments for this committee, Policy & Resources Committee and Budget Council.


60.13   Councillor West stated that he would like to propose a motion to amend the recommendations and requested the Chair’s discretion to do so.


60.14   The Chair stated that the council had clear procedural rules on amendments and following the technical advice provided by officers at the meeting, she was not prepared to accept a late amendment.


60.15   Councillor Moonan expressed her frustration that a complex, technical amendment had been proposed at the last minute when the council had clear procedural rules and timescales on the matter and the report had been published on time.


60.16   The Chair then put the recommendations to the vote that failed.


60.17   The report was referred to Policy & Resources Committee for decision.  

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