Rise in town hall hire charges gets approval

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THE cost of hiring the town hall has increased following recommendations approved by Scottish Borders Council.

A revised schedule of charges for public venues across the region is now in effect, which will see commercial groups pay £45-an-hour for the main hall, while non-commercial rates have been set at £18.

Hire of the lesser town hall has been set at £30 and £12 per hour respectively, with the meeting room costing £12 and £9 for each group, £10 per hour for both to use the kitchen, and £5 each hour that a commercial group requires to make tea and coffee.

The working group lead member, Councillor John Paton-Day, said of the new rates suggested by the council’s scrutiny panel: “This has been a difficult piece of work in terms of balancing community needs and the council’s best interests.”

And referring to an agreed 25 per cent discount for community group bookings if they pay an annual affiliation fee – which in Hawick will cost £35 – he commented: “This should provide an incentive to use our halls more often.”

The report also highlights the need for further marketing of public venues and future plans to introduce a booking service for venues and a box office ticket system.