U-turn on water park entry?
PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 January 2011
TOWN bosses could perform a u-turn on their decision to keep Weston's new water park free next year.
Weston Town Council is now looking at charging children aged one to 16 a fee of 50p per day during the summer months after councillors this week reviewed their original decision.
Members of the council’s Community Services Committee had voted in favour of keeping the attraction free at a meeting last November.
They said because they agreed not to install fencing around the perimeter of the attraction they could not introduce a charge as the site was unsecure.
But following a meeting this week, it has been recommended the council should introduce a ‘nominal’ fee during 2011.
Council leader Pauline Priestman told the Mercury: “The decision not to charge originally was because although the option of making it wholly secure was considered, it was not an attractive option because the park is in a conservation area.
“One of the difficulties in charging is deterring people from hopping over the wall and we felt it might be difficult to police.
“But we have got bushes planted all the way around, which will take a little time to grow, and we have recommended to the council that we have someone taking entry charges who is also free to supervise the park.”
She said charging entry will not generate more cash for the council but will help to pay the park’s running costs.
Cllr Priestman added: “I do understand local people’s feelings but equally we do have to try and cover some of the overheads - we will not be making any profit by charging.
“Another way to cover the overheads would be council tax and we don’t want to go down that road.
“We thought it better to charge people who use the park rather than charge the whole electorate.”
Councillors have also discussed charging people for using the toilets which are to be built on the seafront attraction soon, and a final decision will be made on this and the entry fee at the authority’s full council meeting on Monday.