Council seeks to raise cash from charging more for venue hire

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A YORKSHIRE council is proposing hefty price rises for the hiring and use of rooms at museums and art galleries.

Kirklees Council is proposing to hold the admission charges into Oakwell Hall and Red House Museum, leaving them at £1 for children and £2.50 for adults.

But large price hikes are proposed for hiring the venues and for using them for weddings.

The cost of hiring the barn at Oakwell Hall for an evening wedding reception is expected is rise from £450 to £800.

And using the bar for a day reception may rise from £300 to £500.

The authority is also proposing to allow Red House and Dewsbury Museum to be used for weddings and drinks receptions from summer next year.

A report detailing the changes said: “In many cases fees have been held for a number of years and have not kept up with the rate of inflation.

“Some activities are provided purely on a commercial basis in order to generate income. This includes conferencing and wedding facilities and prices have been increased in line with market rates.”

School visits and group visits could also see some price rises under the proposals.

Group visits (with guided tour) to Oakwell Hall are expected to go up by £5 or £10, depending on the size of the group, while the cost of group visits (with tour) to Red House could also increase.

Price rises will also affect school visits from January next year.

Schools from outside Kirklees who visit Oakwell Hall will be charged £145, a rise of £25, while local schools visiting Oakwell Hall from within the district will pay £90, a rise of £15.

The council is also hoping to bring in extra cash by charging more for room hire and for charging visitors £1.20 for tea or coffee, £10 for the use of a hot water boiler and £1.50 per jug of hot water.

The cost of hiring a gallery at Tolson Museum for half a day would also increase, from £46 to £70.

Kirklees Council says that some of the charges would be introduced on a pilot basis to increase business and to meet income targets.

A 50 per cent discount on room hire is available to charities, voluntary and community organisations.

The council said several factors were taken into consideration when price changes were assessed.

These were: the need to meet increased income targets to balance the budget; meeting the ‘market rate’ for commercial activities; and changes in the cost of providing the services.

“School charges are being increased to bring them into line with market rates as the capacity for visits will fall as a result of a reduction in opening times from October 1,” it added.

Members of the council’s cabinet committee will discuss the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday, September 25.