Car parking cost freeze part of good value charges in budget proposals
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet last night (Tuesday 4 December) agreed proposals for fees and charges for paid-for council services from April 2019, as part of a budget consultation.
The freeze in the daytime, Sunday and Bank Holiday parking charges would continue to make the council car park charges lower than other areas and other car parking providers in Basingstoke, such as Festival Place and the railway station. No increase in residents’ parking or visitors’ permits is also proposed.
The daytime charges in long stay car parks have been changed to create two-hour bands rather than going up each hour. This change makes the costs simpler to understand and better reflects the purpose of these car parks, encouraging short stay parkers to use the short stay car parks. Season tickets remain competitive. A quarterly charge for a seven-day ticket will be £294, cheaper than both Festival Place and the railway station, at £315 and £371 respectively.
Other fees and charges for council ‘pay to use’ services overall are only set to rise by an average of 3%, to allow for inflation.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Service Delivery and Improvement Cllr Robert Tate said: “Good value fees and charges are part of our proposals for a balanced budget, keeping us a low tax but high spend council. Increases have been carefully considered to ensure that costs are affordable and competitive against other councils and providers.
“This is a fair way of striking a balance between those who decide to use additional services and everyone having to pay. Charges help to recover the costs for services like parking and planning and lessen the burden on council tax payers, while still making them good value.”
Increases in cemetery charges are part of a four-year programme aimed at reducing the large subsidy for the service which is currently £182,500 a year. The borough’s burial charges are still under the average of those in surrounding areas and lower than in other areas of the country.
An improved garden waste service will cost £47 a year, £42 for those signing up 1 January to 31 March, increasing from £35. But the fortnightly collections will now go on for six weeks longer – starting in February rather than March – so the garden waste service will include an increase from 22 to 25 collections a year. And Christmas tree collection for the first time next year included in the service.
Customers will also have the option of changing to a 240 litre brown wheeled bin that will take more grass cuttings, hedge clippings and other gardening waste than the current two sacks. When the service becomes available for residents to sign up, there will be an introductory offer of £18 to buy a new brown bin, until Sunday 31 March 2019. The one-off charge for the bin will revert to the normal price of £28.84 from Monday 1 April 2019.
Fees and charges are part of the budget proposals that are out for consultation until Wednesday 2 January 2019 at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2019. Feedback will be considered before final decisions about the budget are taken at a Council meeting in February 2019.