Dec 14 2012

Massive Cost Hikes on the way from Harrow Council

Harrow Council has published it’s proposed Fees and Charges Schedule for 2013/14 which will contain a number of shocks for residents. You can download the document using the link above for the full, 78-page document, but the highlights of the worst changes are:

Charges for Meals on Wheels at day centres and luncheon clubs will increase by almost 15% from £3.05 to £3.50 for frozen meals, with a 4% increase to £4.90 for hot meals.

Charges for hall hiring costs (school halls, gyms, playgrounds, etc) are increasing by 3-4%.

Harrow Arts Centre sees most of it’s room hire costs increase by around 3-5%, with the Elliot Hall fees increasing by 10% for longer performances. In one scenario, the hire of the Elliott Hall’s rates will increase by 89% for it’s “additional hour” rate – presumably, this is a punitive rate to prevent over-staying, but that’s not clear from the document.

Refreshments for meetings at the Tithe Barn also get a cost hike: for meetings where tea and coffee is provided, the cost of those refreshments jumps up 7%, and even the ‘cream tea and tour’ price increases from £7.30 to £9.50 per head – an increase of 30%.

Getting married doesn’t escape the beancounter’s eye: a Saturday wedding in the Moat Room jumps from £110 to £150 – a 36% increase; whilst its weekday equivalent jumps up a tenner to £90.

In a nation of increasing obesity, you’d hope that sports and fitness would see a decrease in costs, but not so. Hire of football and rugby pitches all increase by 2-3%. However, by pricing good health out of the reach of many, it’s at least thoughtful of the council to leave burial, internment, memorial and chapel hire fees the same.

Section 38 and Section 278 works – related to adoption of new estate roads – almost doubles to £2,500 as a minimum fee – a 92% increase, and the cost of vehicle crossings so you can park on your own front garden will increase well well: admin fees go up by 25% and estimation of the cost of construction will increase by 50%.

Parking at the Civic Centre remains largely unchanged, although the first hour of parking increase from £1.30 to £1.40 to ‘deter inappropriate use of the car park’. Surely most visits would be less than an hour for visitors to the One Stop Shop (or Access Harrow, or whatever it’s called these days)?

Special refuse collections increase, although these are mostly rounding-up existing charges. However, non-recyclable refuse collection costs increase by about 10%. So if you’ve got too much rubbish to fit in your bin, and you can’t get it to Forward Drive yourself, you’ll be paying £50 for the first item, and £30 for the second.

Wheelie Bins get similar treatment: new/additional bins increase by £4 to £50 each, plus delivery of £19.30. Changing for a bigger bin see a whopping and eye-watering 183% increase from £17.68 to £50 – clearly a deterrent, and something that will only increase fly-tipping in the borough.

Most Council-operated car parks remain the same, although one of two see a small increase. Resident parking permits increase by 4% all round, including visitor permits.

Most of the new fees will come into effect from January 2013. We’d urge you to view the report in full to see how you’ll be affected.

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