Today, I received an email informing me of changes to traffic management support to community events. There is no easy way to say this, but from the 1st January 2014, there will be changes to how community events are charged for certain aspects of traffic management. Up to now, the services Cornwall Council has provided supporting traffic management have been free (events pre 1st Jan will not be charged).
The cost of providing this service amounts to £175,000 per year. This includes pre-application advice, assessing and approving traffic management plans, processing temporary traffic regulation orders, providing signs, barriers and no-waiting cones. Unfortunately now, the cost of providing this support for free is difficult due to the huge budget pressures the Council is dealing with now, and for the next few years.
Earlier this year a public consultation took place with many event organisers telling the Council that such charges would affect the quality and sustainability of their events. I know the Council has understood these concerns and have made efforts to keep the charges as low as possible. Even saying this I no doubt recognise there will be a negative effect, but hope that event organisers will be able to find resources to cover these new charges.
For example a couple of the changes are as follows
Small community events (those with less than 5,000 people attending) the charge will be £40 when requesting a road closure and £90 for large events (over 5,000 people attending). Local community street parties and Remembrance Day events will not be subject to charge. Fees for considering commercially promoted events will be at cost.
The Council will continue to provide no-waiting cones when required and identified as part of an agreed traffic management plan. A charge will be made for this service which is £30 for small events and £70 for large events. Provision of signage and other traffic management equipment Signs, cones and barriers will no longer be provided by the Council. If this equipment is requested from the Council, it can be provided by Cormac but the full cost will be charged.
More details on the charging policy can be found HERE.
Not all community events will be charged. As a formal road closures may not be required for this sort of event if they are:
- often short in duration, and
- are managed safely with appropriate marshalling.
I know this will not be welcomed news, and if things were different financially, I would be saying hang on a minute. However, things are getting tough, services are stopping and/or being reduced. With the next few years will be very tough. The Council may end up with only providing statutory services due to these budget pressures and reductions in funding.
I wish it was different, but I am having to make some difficult decisions like this in my own portfolio for which I have responsibility for. However, unless there is a change of course in how Council’s are funded from Government, things like this will happen.