Cabinet gave consideration to the report of the Head of Neighbourhood Services that detailed the latest review of the Council’s fees and charges for 2022/23 and the proposed recommended increases. Fees and charges were reviewed each year taking into account the increased need to recover the total cost of the services provided and the cost of inflation (Retail Price Index). The anticipated income from these charges was built into the draft Revenue Budget for 2022/23. Charges were rounded to the nearest 25p if under £50.00 or the nearest £1.00 if over £50.00.
Most of the fees and charges within the appendices to the report were recommended to increase at 4.8% with the following exceptions:
Beach and Foreshore (Appendix 3): As beach huts remained in high demand, it was recommended that the fees be increased to £560 per annum and the minimum transfer fee be increased to £2,000 for 2022/23. It was recommended that boat licence fees increased by 5% in 2022/23 and by a further 5% in 2023/24. Other foreshore services e.g. winches and equipment box fees would increase at 10%.
Car Parking (Appendix 4): Since the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), the Council had introduced car parking charges to car parks that were previously free, created three long-stay car parks with a single “all day” tariff (Gibbet Marsh, Lower Market and Wainwright Road), and standardised chargeable hours across the district. In October 2020, an Off-Street Car Parks Task and Finish Group had been established to consider the impact of CPE on the Council’s off-street car parks. Due to COVID-19, it had not been possible to fully assess the impact of CPE on the Council’s off-street car parks therefore, it was recommended that the car parking charges remained unchanged for 2022/23 whilst further review was undertaken. It was recommended that parking permit prices across the district be increased by 4.8% plus a further 4.5%. Due to significant increase in costs to manage Camber Western Car park, it was recommended that the summer season tariffs (from 1 April to 30 September) be increased in all Camber Sands car parks. The increased charges would be as follows: £2.50 (up to 1 hour) and £7.50 [not £6.50 as detailed incorrectly in the report] (1 to 3 hours).
Bulky Waste Collection (Appendix 6a): It was recommended that the fee for the Council collecting four to six and seven to nine bulky waste items increased to £75.00 and £110 respectively. A slight increase in the collection of one to three items had been noted.
Garden Waste Collections (Appendix 6b): The charge for garden waste had been increased from 15 July 2021 to £45 for customers subscribing to the service. For comparison the garden waste subscription charges in neighbouring authorities were confirmed as Hastings £70; Eastbourne £52; Lewes £70 and Wealden £55. The total cost of the service was approximately £591,630 per annum. The projected income for 2022/23 at £45 per annum per bin at the current rate of just over 22,400 subscribers was approximately £1m. It was therefore recommended that the annual subscription be increased to £50 per annum which would result in an income of £1.1m. Officers would continue to investigate ways to promote and incentivise new subscribers to the service.
Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (Appendix 7): It was recommended that the charges for scrap metal remain unchanged for 2022/23.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) (Appendix 8A): As a revisit to rate a premises under the FHRS was not a statutory duty, it was recommended that the scale of fees in the appendix to the report was introduced.
Health Certificates (for food exported) (Appendix 8B):Food exported to countries outside the EU required a health certificate. It was recommended that the scale of fees in the appendix to the report was introduced.
Houses of Multiple Occupation [HMO] Licences (Appendix 9): A Supreme Court judgement had determined that local authorities must have two sets of fees - one fee to cover the costs of applying for a licence (non-refundable) and one for issuing the licence and on-going enforcement. It was recommended that the Council had a combined fee to reflect the reduced administration costs associated with only one fee being paid. Therefore, it was recommended that the scale of fees in the appendix to the report was introduced.
Cabinet was satisfied that the increases put forward were not considered to be excessive. Members were mindful that to maintain income, a balance had to be struck between covering costs and retaining custom.
RESOLVED: That the charges shown in the Appendices be approved and brought into effect from 1 April 2022, with the exception of charges in Appendix 6 (b) which will be brought into effect from 15 July 2022.