Budget deficit affects Vale leisure activities

Children enjoying a previous play day in the Vale Park
Children enjoying a previous play day in the Vale Park

Previously free leisure activities provided by Aylesbury Vale District Council will now attract a charge.

John Cartwright, leader of the council, says the charges come as a result of significant financial cuts being imposed by central government.

Writing in the council’s monthly magazine he said: “You’ll notice we are starting to introduce or slightly increase some fees and I’m afraid it’s something we’re likely to see more of.”

AVDC started charging parish councils for Play around the Parishes events last year, and that will increase this year from £50 to £60 for the basic package.

These events, run during the school holidays, provide activities including inflatable games for children to enjoy on recreation grounds.

Some charges will also be made for Play in the Park at the Vale Park in August.

Although entry to the event will remain free there will be a charge for some of the activities including the bouncy castle and climbing wall. A spokesman for the council said there was a charge for some activities last year, but 50 per cent will remain free.

In his article Mr Cartwright said: “We would rather not do this but with the significant financial cuts coming our way we have little choice. By 2020 our grant settlement from central government will have reduced by almost half, meaning a cut of more than five and a half million pounds.”

He said the council’s priority was to protect frontline services and to continue delivering them to a high standard.

He added:“We hope you’ll agree that introducing a small price for some events is a sensible decision and still offers excellent value for money.”