Hedge Ends Recreation & Amenities Committee have approved some changes to their structure of fees for hall hire, which will have the effect of increasing the costs to one of the Mayors charities by 32%.
A review of all fees is currently underway in Hedge End, with a small working group looking first at the fees charged for sports pitches, burial fees and to local pre-schools etc for hire of halls.
The object is of the review is to make the fees consistent for everybody, removing the anomalies where (for instance) one local pre-school is charged more than £14 an hour whilst another pays just over £8. Standardisation, easier administration and greater fairness are the objectives of the fees review.
The working party has also been careful to ensure that the changes to the fees for hall hire do not raise more money for the Council, just apportion the existing income more equally between all of the pre-schools who hire the various halls in Hedge End.
Changes to other fees, e.g. to private hirers of the halls still have to be reviewed, but the proposal that the fees for hall hire for pre-schools etc will be changed to a standard £10.85 hour from 1st October was approved by the Recreation & Ameneties committee this week, meaning that some local pre-schools (etc) will pay less whilst others pay more.
The fees review has good intentions, but has clearly created an awkward problem for Hedge End Town Council and the Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Rupert Kyrle.
Even more awkwardly, the current Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Rupert Kyrle, is also one of Hedge Ends Town Councillors. Cllr Kyrle is not a member of any of the committees at Hedge End, has not participated in the fees review working group and is not directly responsible for increasing the fees to his selected charity, but as a Town Councillor he shares a collective responsibility for the decisions taken by the Town Council. The current Mayor of Eastleigh therefore bears some of the responsibility for the increase in hire fees that is faced by one of his chosen charities…
However the impact on the Wildern Opportunity Group is not as bad as it might be. Hedge End Town Council have decided that the revised fees will only apply to the extra hours that the pre-school use the hall. The cost of hiring the hall for the Wildern Opportunity Group’s “core hours” remain unchanged, continuing a long-standing arrangement.
Hedge End’s revised fees structure will not, it seems, remove all of the anomalies…
There was one abstention from the vote that approved the proposed fee changes at the Recreation and Amenities meeting. Cllr Day, a member of the fees review working party, said that he had expressed his concern at the impact on the Wildern Opportunity Group during the discussions in the working party, but was outvoted.
Raising his concerns again in the Recreation and Ameneties Committee meeting, hoping that R&A members who were not on the working party would support him, Cllr Day felt unable to support the proposed fee changes when it was put to the larger vote at the R&A meeting.