Uckfield Civic Centre is planning a more attractive room hire rate for businesses.
The aim is to increase use and make the costs competitive in the local market.
Charges for the 2017/18 financial year will be lower than current costs and, in many cases, be the same as those charged for non-commercial hirers.
It also will have an introductory rate to tempt greater use of the facilities.
At present Uckfield Town Council has a two-tier system of charges which sees the commercial rate often double that charged to local clubs, societies and groups.
From next April, members of the council’s general purposes committee agreed the rates should be (figures are per hour and exclude VAT):
- Weald Hall: £22; £38.50 commercial [current rates £21.60 and £51.20]
- Ashdown Room: £11.50 and £20 [current rates £11 and £18.75]
- Council chamber: £12.50 for all users [current rates £12.30 and £26]
- Green Room £10.00 for all users [current rates £9.50 and £18.20]
- Oakleaf Room: £9 for all users [current rates £8.95 and £15.55
- Martletts Room: £9 for all users [£8.95 and £15.55]
- Mayor’s Parlour: £8 for all users [current rates £7.80 and £14.70]
- Luxfords restaurant: £10.50 [current rates £10.40 and not applicable]
Use of certain equipment, such as projectors and television sets, will continue to be charged separately.
Committee chairman, Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Uckfield Central, said the aim was to get more use of rooms. “An empty room doesn’t make us any money whatsoever,” she commented.
Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood, said the previous formula for increasing prices, based on a percentage of the civic centre’s running and caretaking costs was a “blunt instrument”.
Councillors welcomed the idea of a reduced introductory rate for three months.
Cllr Mick Dean, Trust Independent, New Town, commented: “Once you have got them in, you have got them.” He suggested the council should consider a loyalty discount for long-term users.
Cllr Keith Everett, Independent, Ridgewood, said: “The more people we can get to use our facilities, the better.”