Hike in fees to hire out St Helens Town Hall for functions

St Helens Town Hall
St Helens Town Hall

Couples looking to celebrate their wedding in St Helens Town Hall will have to pay a little extra after the council raised its fees.

The Assembly Hall in the town hall can hold up to 360 people and is available for hire for large events such as wedding receptions, fairs and concerts.

St Helens Council has carried out a review of its fees and charges for hiring out the town hall, as well as its parks and open spaces.

These fees and charges had not been increased for several years and following the review a decision has been taken through delegated powers to increase them.

The council said it has taken the decision to “maximise income due to the ongoing impact of austerity.”

“The fees in these areas had not been increased for several years,” the council said.

“The fees have therefore been increased to reflect in the main a six per cent increase in charges.

“All local authorities are having to maximise income due to the ongoing impact of austerity.”

For 2019-20, the council saw £5m slashed from its revenue support grant, a lump sum that can be used to finance revenue expenditure on any service.

This takes the overall reduction of general support grant funding from the government to £90m since 2010.

Last month, councillors were asked to develop detailed portfolio budget options to close the forecast budget gap of £5.4m for 2020-2021.

The council said the decision to raise its fees and charges for the hire of parks, open spaces and St Helens Town Hall, could see community groups look to other local authorities to rent space.

However, the council now says this is “unlikely” as the review has considered costs in neighbouring areas.

“The fees have been reviewed so that they will have a minimum impact on small, community events,” the council says.

“They will have a greater impact on larger, commercial events who have previously benefited from low cost fees.”