Rother District Council (RDC) has become wedded to the principle that the user pays, hence the introduction later this year of a charge for the collection of garden waste and the increase in costs for those who have beach huts. This principle is of benefit to the council tax payers who do not use those facilities, a perhaps laudable aspiration.
The tourist information budget is to be halved, maybe saving about £30,000. This is a strange decision bearing in mind that the district relies quite heavily on income from the tourist industry. There are many hotels, B & Bs and other attractions that draw day trippers and holiday makers to East Sussex, from whom they generate their income and pay their taxes. Most of them have websites and promote the beauty and interests to be found around here, and persuade people to visit and stay in the area, ultimately to the benefit of the council tax payers. So one must query the wisdom of RDC in reducing the tourism budget.
The De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) is promoted by RDC as being a big tourist attraction for visitors to the Rother district. I fail to see how it tempts many people to visit the area and stay in accommodation in Rye, Battle or any other part of the district outside of the curtilage of Bexhill. Also it appears to be severely under-used and many events are free. What happened to the principle of user pays? And yet RDC have committed themselves to a grant to the DLWP of about £500,000 pa for the next seven years. The DLWP also receives a similar sum from the Arts Council.
There is no incentive for the DLWP to improve its’ appeal to the public and increase its’ earned income if it is guaranteed £1m pa whilst making little effort. It should at least balance the books without generous subsidy from the tax paying public who do not use the facility – the user pays principle again.
If Rother District Council is short of income and reportedly needs to find savings of £293,500 to balance the 2014/2015 budget I can make a
suggestion - start by withdrawing the wasted tax-payers money granted to the De La Warr Pavilion.
Rod Came, Rye.