Fees and charges to rise

COUNCIL bosses have approved plans to increase prices for a range of licences.

Hartlepool Borough Council charge fees for the various licences they grant and there has been an average 2.5 per cent rise to either cover increased staff costs or to bring them in line with other councils.

A dog breeding and animal boarding licence will go up £3 to £126, while licences for acupuncture, tattooing and ear piercing will go from £123 to £126 for premises.

Various street trading licences will also rise as will food safety licences.

Meanwhile, safety licences for sports grounds will rise from £520 to £530.

Pest control fees for business premises will rise from £48 to £50 per hour plus materials, but there is no charge for rats and mice at domestic properties.

Bingo and betting shops will also see fees rise for new applications.

But not all fees have risen as the hackney carriages and private hire licences will stay the same.

Speaking at an adult and public health services portfolio meeting, Sylvia Pinkney, the council’s public protection manager, said the increase in fees will bring in an extra £8,800.

The majority will come from increasing fees for the standard pitch for Thursday market traders from £22 to £25, as previously reported.

Stall-holders in January and February will also see the price rise from £16 to £18, while there will be an extra charge of £5 for casual traders in the fourweeks up to Christmas.

A number of the charges had to be increased as they are statutory fees. They will all come into force from Friday, April 1.

Portfolio holder Labour councillor Ged Hall said: “I am happy to agree the fees and charges to be implemented from April.”

He added that the new market had been a success since the Wednesday and Thursday markets were merged.

He said: “The new market is successful and there is no evidence of a reduction in the number of market stalls. The market is well used and it is a valued public service.”

Officers also discussed proposed new licensing requirements for premises that offer “sexual entertainment”.

If councillors do introduce the new controls, at a meeting of the next full council, then there would be a fee for any premises applying for a Sex Entertainment Venue (SEV).

The proposed fee structure for a new application is either £500 or £850, depending on the rateable value of the premises, while a renewal application would range between £100 and £450.

Hartlepool currently has one lap dancing club, Little Black Book, in Whitby Street, which would require the licence.

A report said the premises has been operating for more than two years and there have been no reports of trouble.

Because it is established, the owners would need to apply for a ‘renewal application’ rather than a more costly new application.