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Charges to hire Moray's parks?


By Hazel Lawson Local Democracy Reporter

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Fees could be introduced for hiring Moray Council parks for public events.

Cooper Park in Elgin. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Cooper Park in Elgin. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

Councillors will be asked next week to consider charging for areas such as Cooper Park in Elgin, Grant Park in Forres and Lossiemouth esplanade as an additional source of income.

At the moment fees only apply to funfairs and circuses.

The proposals follow a consultation held earlier this year. Around three-quarters of those who responded thought the council should recover costs associated with events.

There was little support for charging schools, free to enter community events or charities, although more than a third thought a fee should be considered for community events with a cost for entry.

In his report James Hunter, the council's open space manager, explained that local authorities across the UK already had fees in place for those using parks and other areas.

He said: "While there is no consistency of approach across councils, many do levy a charge for hiring a park or green space for an event, including an administration fee and refundable deposit.

"Despite the interest from commercial, private and other events the council currently has no consistent charging structure or events policy in place beyond the statutory licensing fees required for some events."

Grant Park in Forres. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Grant Park in Forres. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

Suggested fees for a small commercial event of up to 199 attendees include a £300 daily charge, plus an additional £50 for administration costs and a refundable deposit of £500 to be paid up front.

That rises to £500 per day for major events of more than 1000 people, plus £100 for administration and a £5000 deposit.

A 50% reduction will be offered to registered charities and not for profit organisations running community events.

Members of the council's economic development and infrastructure committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposals.


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