Marina Car Park, St Leonards. SUS-220701-141402001

Hastings parking charges and beach hut rents to rise

Hastings Borough Council is set to increase charges for a wide range of services.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 3:46 pm

On Tuesday (January 4),  cabinet members gave their backing to proposals to increase fees and charges in the coming financial year (2022/23), mostly at the inflation rate of 3.9 per cent.

These fees and charges cover a wide range of council services, including beach hut rents, sports pitches, cemetery charges and taxi licensing among many others.

Cllr Peter Chowney, cabinet member for finance, said: “The council desperately needs to maintain as much income as it has, with the continuing austerity cuts that we are getting in government grants. We need to maintain income where we can. 

“However, in most cases we have simply put them up by inflation. The exceptions to that are largely where they are straight forwardly commercial services and we know that there is sufficient demand there for people to pay higher prices. 

“These are not essential things, for example the summer rentals of beach huts which are mostly done by people staying in Hastings for holidays, tourism and so on. We know that they can sustain significantly high charges.”

The cabinet meeting had originally been slated to take place in person, but the town’s covid infection rates were considered high enough to move the meeting online as a precautionary measure.

While the Coronavirus Act 2020 allowed councils to hold meetings “remotely” during the first lockdown, the powers were time-limited and expired on May 7 2021. As no extension was agreed by government, councillors are required to be in the same room to be counted as ‘present’ and be able to vote.

As a result, cabinet could not formally take decisions, but instead gave indications on what decisions it would take. These could then be enacted by the council’s managing director under the emergency powers.

Most of the fees and charges are set to increase by 3.9 per cent, although some are set to increase at a different rate. 

These include the prices for booking sports pitches and courts, which will generally increase by around five per cent.

For example the cost of booking a football pitch for an adult’s one-off game is set to rise from £84.50 to £88.50, while the cost of an adult booking a tennis court would rise from £8.80 to £9.20 (or 4.5 per cent).

A notable exception to the increases will be the council’s annual charge for garden waste collections, which will stay the same to the present charge. The council says this is because it already charges significantly more than the councils it shares a waste contractor with.

Hastings Borough Council currently charges £70 a year for this service, while Wealden charges £55 and Rother £45.

However, the council will increase what it charges for bulky waste collections. Currently it charges £35 to collect up to three bulky household items and will rise to £38.

However, the largest cost increases are set to come in what the council charges for beach huts and chalets, although the rates of these proposed increases vary considerably.

For example the annual cost of one of the Marina or Solarium chalets (located opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel) is set to rise from £1,981 to £2,179.10 — a ten per cent increase.

However, the cost of a West Marina chalet will increase by a much more modest 2.1 per cent, to either £1,396 or £1,335 depending on its location.

The greatest increase will be in the cost of a weekly rental of the seasonal Victoria beach huts (also located opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel). In 2021 a week’s rental would  have set you back £91 during the peak of the season. In 2022 the council will charge £273 instead. 

These beach hut changes were agreed ahead of the meeting as they run in annual cycles, rather than financial year cycles.

The council is also looking at what it charges at its pay and display car parks. 

Unlike the other increases, these would undergo public consultation as part of the council’s budget setting process.

For the most part, parking charges would go up by around five per cent. For example, the cost of an hour’s parking at the Pelham Place or Rock a Nore car parks would increase from £1.80 to £1.90, while a three-hour ticket would go up from £4.40 to £4.60. 

Similar increases would be in place at other council car parks, with the notable exception of the Cornwallis Street Car Park, which will stay the same price.

Another notable exception would be the three sports centre car parks at Summerfields, Falaise Road and Falaise Hall, which will all get a new pricing structure. 

Currently motorists can park in these three car parks for up to four hours, with prices starting at 50p for up to an hour and up to £2 for four hours. The new pricing would start at 60p for two hours and go up to £2.10 for up to four hours of parking. 

The council says this is intended to reflect concerns around putting people off from visiting the sports centres, while also discouraging commuter parking. 

The council also intends to introduce several new charges in 2022/23. These will include the introduction of a £150 charge for ‘re-scoring’ food standards inspections. 

The council will also begin (from April 2022) charging motorists to use its electric car charging points. The council would initially set the cost at roughly £6 for two hours of charging.

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