Gosport council set to raise parking and leisure fees

Gosport Mens Shed Choir in action at the Gang Show, above, and at the Alverstoke Michaelmas Fayre, left, lead by Lynne Dixon

LESLIE BLACKBURN: Gosport Men’s Shed are singing out loud

  • Council need to cut £1.5m by 2020
  • Town centre car parking and sports fees are increasing
  • Councillor believes it may discourage children to participate in sport
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CRITICS have condemned a council’s decision to raise a high number of its fees and charges across their district,

Gosport Borough Council is looking to save £660,000 in the 2017/18 financial year and £1.5m by 2020 as it aims to retain 100 per cent of the business rates.

Costs that will be raised are the price of car parking in the town centre from 80p per hour to 90p and the cost of a grave will go up from £450 to £550.

Entry fees to the leisure centre will also rise.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, says it will bring in an extra £170,000.

At a full council meeting, members of the opposition attacked the decision.

Leader of the Lib Dems Cllr Peter Chegwyn said: ‘Some of the car parking increases are 25 per cent – well above the rate of inflation.

‘It was the Conservatives who introduced parking fees and each time they go up they are encouraging people to shop elsewhere.’

Labour Cllr Dennis Wright added: ‘Sports may only be going up by 10p and 20p, but when there are families going two or three times a week the costs add up.

‘We are trying to encourage children to participate in sport.’

The rent paid for the use of Privett Park by Gosport Borough Football Club, of which Cllr Hook is chairman, has not increased.

Cllr Graham Burgess, deputy leader of the council, said it was because a five-year lease had been signed.

Cllr Hook said: ‘It is the same circumstances for the cricket club, bowls club and rugby club. Gosport Borough FC is treated no differently.

‘Gosport is still cheaper than neighbouring areas for most of the services, especially bereavement costs – it is cheaper to die in Gosport than neighbouring towns.

‘Plus, our high street has less empty shops than in Hayling Island, Havant and Fareham.’