Music club’s reprieve on hire fee rise

PUBLISHED: 12:26 16 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:39 28 May 2010

COUNCIL officials have intervened to stop fees for a country music club more than quadrupling in little over a year. Phil Hughes, leisure development manager for Fenland District Council, said the council would now freeze increases for six months for book

COUNCIL officials have intervened to stop fees for a country music club more than quadrupling in little over a year.

Phil Hughes, leisure development manager for Fenland District Council, said the council would now freeze increases for six months for booking the community hall at Whittlesey's Manor Leisure Centre.

He met Councillor Steve Garratt, the portfolio holder for leisure, and agreed the freeze "to give the club time to adjust to the new rates".

Mr Hughes said Whittlesey Country Music Club had been charged more after being "grossly under-charged" in previous years.

He said problems arose because the club was paying the off-peak rate from 5pm to midnight, when it should have been paying the peak rate from 7pm.

Peter Cranwell, who has run the club for a decade, said the council "is trying to charge top price for a rock-bottom place".

He said the walls had not been painted for about 10 years, the floor was last varnished seven years ago, and a light had been hanging from its casing for the past 12 months.

"My club was rated as one of the best in Cambridgeshire and now it has gone," he said.

"Apart from fitness groups, we were the only people who put things on in that hall."

The club was paying £80 a session this time last year, but that rose to £178.50 in April.

The council then increased the price to £330 a session - a rise of 312.5 per cent in just over a year.

Mr Cranwell said: "I would have been losing £100 a night with the new prices.

"I cannot afford that. I have given up."

Mr Hughes said: "The situation is they have been charged incorrectly - we should have charged peak rate.


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