Fenland Council to pass on extra admin costs for taxi licences as they reveal planned rises of up to 50 per cent

Taxis for hire in Wisbech Bus Station

Taxis for hire in Wisbech Bus Station - Credit: Archant

Fenland Council has unveiled the prices it expects to charge customers using leisure centre, filing forms, getting buried, using the Port of Wisbech or hiring a room to boost income next year by nearly £57,000.

Whilst many charges remain the same or face modest rises, the taxi industry expects to be hit hard. The council insists the cost of monitoring the service has risen and in turn the council is proposing some fees rise by up to 50 per cent.

Rob Bridge, corporate director, will tell the overview and scrutiny panel that the current and forecast economic climate dictates charges across the council’s services.

He warned councillors to “remain sympathetic of local people’s ability to pay whilst at the same time maximising income to the council”.

Mr Bridge said the council needed to make savings in the coming year of just over £1million and these increased fees would help.

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Many of the charges collected by Fenland Council – such as planning fees and Licensing Act and Gambling Act charges- are regulated by the Government “and we have no discretion in the setting of these fees”. In many of these areas no increases are proposed.

Mr Bridge has detailed those areas where Fenland Council can increase fees and within the leisure centres an increase of around two per cent, rounded to the nearest 5p, is proposed.

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“It is important to build increased perceived value to the current offer whilst remaining competitive with other local service providers,” he said.

No increase is proposed for the 64 pitches across five sites used by travellers “as the income from these currently exceeds operating costs”.

Homeless people using the Creek Road, March, hostel will have to fork out an extra 1.2 per cent and other temporary housing will see rents rise by 2.2 per cent.

But taxi drivers can expect to pay more in order, says Mr Bridge, “to recover the estimated cost of the service”. He said there had been an increase “in administrative work associated with these licences” and new drivers’ licence fees will rise by 31.1 per cent (£25) to £105 and new and renewal vehicle licence fees will go up by 16.7 per cent (£20) to £140.

Drivers also face a 36.4 per cent increase to £45 if they damage or lose their vehicle plate whilst damage to or loss of a drivers’ ID will see the replacement cost £30 instead of £20, a 50 per cent increase.

And for the first time it will cost taxi drivers £10.50 if they tell the council they have changed address.

Burial costs are also going up in Fenland – up to £30 extra for an adult plot for example.

The scrutiny committee’s assessment will go later to cabinet for confirmation.

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