Issue - meetings

Review of Fees and Charges 2023-24

Meeting: 01/12/2022 - Council (Item 8)

8 Review of Fees and Charges 2023-24 EXE22-062 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

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The Mayor referred the Council to the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the fees and charges for the coming year.  In doing so, the Mayor advised that a supplementary paper had been published earlier in the week which had set out a revised Appendix 4 and an amended recommendation (i).

Councillor Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Finance, introduced the recommendations of the Executive in respect to the 2023/34 fees and charges.  The financial position of the Council was such that charges could not continue to be kept low and that increases would have to go above the level of inflation, recognising the disproportionate increases in costs such as energy.  The approach adopted would seek to be fair and equitable, and affordable for the residents of the Borough whilst maintaining the Council’s social responsibility.  All local authorities were facing similar financial pressures, the result of a number of factors including the war in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn.

During the debate, a number of concerns were voiced over the size of some of the increases in the fees and charges, affecting some of the keys services for elderly and disabled residents and impacting on the evening economy.  A number of examples were given, including a 20% increase in the Careline service, and significant increases for the Community Meals Service, parking charges and other services.  The proposed introduction of a fee for the use of Electric Vehicle charging points was generally supported, though it was suggested that the Council should seek to use the same system adopted by Surrey County Council. 

The Portfolio Holder responded to the points raised and emphasised that many of the concerns were shared.  However, the Council had a responsibility to deliver a balanced budget for the coming year and the fees and charges would be key in achieving that while enabling the Council to maintain its services.  The Council would continue to support those residents in highest need.

Following the debate, the Mayor referred the Members to the recommendations from the Executive and in accordance with Standing Order 10.8 the recommendations were put to a vote.  The names of Members voting for and against the recommendations were recorded as follows:

In favour:                                Councillors A-M Barker, A Caulfield, G Cosnahan, W Forster, P Graves, I Johnson, A Kirby, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, J Morley, E Nicholson, D Roberts and J Sanderson.

Total in favour:                       14

Against:                                  Councillors A Azad, J Brown, K Davis, S Dorsett, C Kemp, M I Raja, and M Whitehand.

Total against:                         7

Present not voting:                 The Mayor, Councillor S Hussain, and Councillors T Aziz, A Boote, D Jordan, S Oades and T Spencer

Total present not voting:        6

The recommendations of the Executive were therefore carried by 14 votes in favour and 7 votes against.


That (i)      the discretionary fees and charges, as set out in Appendices 1 – 3 of the report received by the Executive and the amended Appendix 4 attached to supplementary report before  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8

Meeting: 17/11/2022 - Executive (Item 9)

9 Review of Fees and Charges 2023-24 EXE22-062 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Reporting Person – Leigh Clarke

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The Executive received a report detailing the proposed discretionary fees and charges for 2023-24.  Councillor Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Finance, highlighted that the report needed to be considered in the context of the Council’s overall position set out in the Medium Term Financial Strategy later in the agenda, and the national picture.  The effect of high inflation and energy costs on Council services was also highlighted.  Given the Council’s financial situation, the Executive was faced with a difficult choice between delivering services at an additional cost to services users or not delivering those services at all.

The Portfolio Holder advised that the parking trial (£3 for up to three hours parking on Saturdays in Victoria Place) was showing early signs of success and it was proposed to retain the £3 for up to three hours on Saturdays in Victoria Place, and to extend the £3 for up to three hours charge to Sundays in all town centre car parks.  It was also proposed to agree charging fees in respect of electric vehicle charging.

Councillor Barker drew attention to the report later on the agenda regarding the Cost of Living Crisis and the importance of making people aware of the help and support available, such as the Household Support Grant.

Councillor Davis raised a number of points including the lack of detail regarding some of the proposed price increases, the possibility of a 30 minute parking rate, the potential introduction of a dedicated chargeable DIY Handyperson service, and garden waste charges.  The Portfolio Holder agreed to speak to Councillor Davis outside the meeting to find out what additional information would be helpful and added that consideration could be given to a 30 minute parking rate.

Following a question regarding the replacement of the Selective Licensing scheme by a Borough wide amenity standard, it was reported that the main benefit of the new amenity standards was that it would apply across the Borough and provide a consistent approach for all landlords and tenants.  It would also be less of an administrative burden, require less staff resources and reduce costs to landlords in Canalside.

Regarding increases to evening parking charges, it was noted that the Council’s new car park management system included functionality which enabled retailers, such as the theatre and cinema, to offer discounted parking as part of a promotion.  It was agreed that the proposed parking charge increases at Woodlands Car Park would be double-checked.

REcommended to Council

That  (i)    the discretionary fees and charges, as set out in Appendices 1 – 4 of the report, be approved;

          (ii)   delegated authority be given to the Green Infrastructure Manager and Strategic Director - Place, in consultation with the Greener Woking and Planning and Regulation Portfolio Holders, to finalise the proposed street naming and numbering fees before implementing these from 1 April 2023;

          (iii)  delegated authority be given to the Strategic Director – Place, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulation, to revise charges for the stray dogs service following  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9