Sep 072012

Next Tuesday, a sub-committee of Aberdeen Council meet to discuss various initiatives under the heading of the “Management of events in Aberdeen’s Parks and Open Spaces”. Mike Shepherd writes.

The document, on a seemingly innocuous subject (Aberdeen parks), is in fact highly controversial. The first item proposes charging groups for the use of the city’s parks for social events.

Each stand alone event incurs a minimum daily hire charge of £250, regardless of status – charity, corporate, private or otherwise.”

The charges range up to £1000 depending on the size of the event.

The scale of the charges will inhibit the organisation of many fun events by community groups happening in our parks. A £250 charge is too steep given that you are never too sure how many people could turn up to an event  given the uncertain Aberdeen weather.

It could also put paid to the activities of community support groups for parks, who aim to raise money for the upkeep of our city’s open spaces through events that they could now be charged for. Support groups have emerged for many of our parks and one would have thought that such a spontaneous community initiative and public-minded spirit would have been encouraged.

Such groups can also attract external funding for park improvements that would not otherwise be available to the council.

This initiative looks very short-sighted as a result.

A second item is authoritarian and looks to be in violation of existing UK law. The councillors at the sub-committee will be asked to:

“agree that the Castlegate is the only recognised location within Aberdeen that can be used for political party and pressure group events.”

This looks like an infringement on basic human rights and is probably unenforceable in practice.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

  8 Responses to “Aberdeen’s Parks: City Council Get Heavy Handed”

  1. Gordon McIntosh, with staff like him in the council no wonder ACC has such a poor reputation.

  2. No point in staging a protest or demo in the middle of a desert where there’s nobody to see or hear you and where you can safely be ignored … guess that’s the idea.

  3. Looks as though a lunatic may be in charge of this particular branch of the asylum

  4. If this is accepted by the local authority, we’ll need to test it out, just to see that it works, of course.

  5. Utterly contemptible! This could have a knock-on effect throughout the whole of the UK, as other councils face budget cuts, and seek new revenue streams. If allowed to progress, this could seriously damage the future of public parks.

  6. You reap what you sow Mike, you got the council you wanted, an inept short sighted bunch of people, as Bob Smith says the lunatic may be in charge of the asylum.

    • Ach, you’ll have to do better than that George. The author of the paper is not a councillor and having known him since schooldays he is definitely not a Labour voter. He also looks after ACSEF’s Management Team (whatever that is). You may also like to read the link quoted in the Voice article which shows that this is an update of an earlier price list.

      “However, ever growing demand for use of the City’s Parks and Open
      Spaces has taken a toll on the maintenance of these areas, and it
      agreed to introduce a pricing structure from 1 April 2012, to contribute
      to daily maintenance costs.
      Each stand alone event incurs a minimum daily hire charge of £250,
      regardless of status – charity, corporate, private or otherwise.
      A copy of the 2012/13 pricing structure is included as Appendix 1”

      That’s “April”, George.

      The elections were in May.

      There is very little chance, given that the current administration didn’t get behind their desks until May, then had to divvy up the committee responsibilities and then tread water during the holiday period, that anything this analytical has been produced in that period.

      Therefore I don’t think for a moment that this is an initiative originated by the current administration, although given that this isn’t the Labour Party as I grew up with it, I will not be surprised if they support it.

  7. I suggest you read my post again my friend, no where did I mention anything regarding Labour, though they no doubt will be in favour of these charges.

    I said you reap what you sow and we have an inept group of people now in charge, they have shunned private money and thrown away the chance of a tif loan, they’ve left themselves little choice but to raise funds from the public directly, they have no other options! We’re out of money!

    Regardless on this occasion they may just have got it right, is it unreasonable to charge for a council space being used for something other than personal use.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>