People local to Bath and North East Somerset have slammed the rise in fees to rent council parks for events and exercise.
From April 2021 to March 2022, it will cost up to £4,136 a day to rent a green space in the area.
Rates start at £260 for charity events in smaller parks – like Alexandra Park in Bath – and range up to more than £4,000 a day to hire the lower lawn of the Royal Crescent.
The jump in prices will affect charities and businesses who wish to host outdoor events in a council park.
Licensed fitness operators who wish to run a series of classes should contact the council directly to obtain a permit and find out how much it will cost.
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Jenny Drew, a personal trainer from Bath launched a petition last month to oppose the fee hike.
She said: “We appeal to BANES to reduce fees, in order to enable the self-employed to rebuild their client base and be able to run outdoor exercise classes.
“Following a period of non-earning, the upfront expenses associated with restarting a business and potentially having to build a client base from scratch is unaffordable.”
So far, 1,040 people have added their name to the list, with many posting their reason below. The goal for the petition is 1,500 signatures – you can find it here.
Anna Bassford said: “Exercise in the open air is so important for everyone. Even more so now after lockdown. Charging to use our own parks is counterproductive and can only cause hardship to everyone.”
Elaine Stirling said: “We all pay for the parks through our council tax. No one should have to pay again to use it.”
Rosie Marlow added: “Exercise should not be unsustainable to charge this amount of money would make the classes financially unviable.”
The first payment event holders will have to make is a non-refundable administration fee, charged at the point they submit an application.
Half of the land hire charge will be required when the booking is accepted, with the remaining balance due at least six months before the event.
Finally, a refundable deposit bond will be required at least 8 weeks prior to the event. You can find out more about the cost of hiring council parks here.
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