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Council proposes new charges for events in Liverpool parks

Organisers of commercial and charitable events could face new charges for the use of Liverpool’s parks and public spaces.

Liverpool City Council cabinet members will consider introducing the policy and rates, which the local authority says would “help safeguard parks from the potential impacts of future cuts to the council’s budget”.

If approved, a hierarchy of charges would range for events organised by commercial businesses such as the Food and Drink Festival and Pier Head Village, which would see all relevant site fees being fully applied.

Meanwhile events by not for profit organisations such as the NHS and arts organisations would see reduced events being applied, events by registered charities such as Africa Oye and Bark in the Park would see reduced rents being applied.

Council events to benefit the city such as school events and spectacles like the Three Queens visit would avoid fees, and events raised by or for the local community with a capacity of 199 or less would see no fees being applied.

Circus and funfairs events organised around commercial businesses would also be charged all relevant site fees.

A report to be considered by the cabinet does specify that the regular not for profit Park Runs will not be charged for the use of the park or booking fees, even if their capacity is higher than 199.

The report says: “The policy has been developed over last the 12 months following a comprehensive review of the range of events run in the city and the rates and charges utilised in other comparable cities for the use of key assets and infrastructure by event organisers.

“The charging policy is designed to ensure the council not only recovers its costs in respect of administering events and reinstating sites in terms of cleanliness and grounds works from the event organiser but generates funds which can be reinvested in parks to continue to maintain and improve them at a time when other financial pressures placed on the council have the potential to lead to disinvestment in this discretionary area of service.”

The document adds: “To date, charging for events in parks and open spaces has been inconsistent, or based on agreed charges which have been unchanged since 2008. As a result, charging for parks use has therefore failed to contribute significantly to parks maintenance costs or infrastructure investment.

“With the risk of cuts to both future parks maintenance budgets and public realm cleansing budgets, it is therefore important that the city begins to realise the commercial value of these key assets and charge accordingly, so that the finances secured through this route can be utilised to protect and maintain these sites in the future.”