Town Hall usage charge could increase

Stonehaven Town Hall
Stonehaven Town Hall

Stonehaven could be affected by Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to increase charges for the use of community halls in the next financial year.

The local authority is set to increase the hourly rates for town halls and community spaces.

The hike is part of a Aberdeenshire-wide adjustment to the charging system and Stonehaven Town Hall could be affected.

Charlie West, chairman of the Stonehaven Folk Festival, said: “It will not affect this year’s festival. Once we know for certain the new rules we will look at our position.”

The local authority defended the policy change, saying it will offer more flexibility.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of property and facilities management, Allan Whyte, said: “Our halls are community spaces and we actively encourage the use of our facilities by local groups.

“The council’s changing policy in particular allows us to apply hourly rates specifically to support this aim.

“However, where a company, association, group or individual charges a separate fee or an admission charge to gain entrance to an activity in our halls, and specifically where a licensed bar is provided, this places the let on a very clear commercial footing. The charge should reflect this.

“The charges we do apply in such instances are still value for money and we are always open to discuss any difficulties user groups have with our charge proposals.”

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, June 30 at 7pm in the Upper Town Hall to discuss the matter.