St Albans splash park to remain free

St Albans City & District Council

St Albans City & District Council - Credit: Archant

What was dubbed “a toddlers tax” on the city’s splash park has been dropped by the district council’s ruling Tory group.

As part of its budget exercise for 2014/15, the council’s cabinet had been looking at introducing a £1 charge for children using the splash park in Verulamium Park, St Albans.

But a scrutiny committee came out strongly against the proposal and this week it emerged that the proposed charge had been abandoned.

The £1 charge was intended both to help the council balance its books and deter people coming from outside the district to use it and taking up places in the nearby museum car park.

But Cllr Anthony Rowlands, who chaired the scrutiny committee, described it as barmy and dubbed it a toddlers’ tax which was unworkable.

Leader of St Albans council, Cllr Julian Daly, said this week that they had taken on board the scrutiny committee’s concerns but added: “The issue of people from outside coming in hasn’t been resolved but we accept the budget change.”

The cabinet has also decided not to look at installing a splash park in Harpenden for the time being, a scheme which was intended to generate usage at the existing paddling pool.

Most Read

But one proposal which looks certain to go ahead is the introduction of car parking charges on Sunday at council-owned car parks such as Drovers Way and Russell Avenue in St Albans and Amenbury Lane in Harpenden.

Motorists will be charged a flat £1 on Sundays to park in car parks which had previously been free. In addition, while free parking at Westminster Lodge will remain in place for up to two hours, a charge will be introduced for the third hour Currently the first three hours are free.

The aim of tne new savings proposals is to peg the current level of the district’s share - 11.5p in the £ - of overall council tax bills in 2014/15 but it is expected that they will have to rise in future years.