GREEN councillors are calling for a rethink on plans to impose new charges on sports clubs hiring school premises.
As well as a general increase in letting charges for adult clubs at all school facilities, an extra £35 per hour fee is due to be introduced on August 1 for all clubs using Edinburgh’s 11 public-private partnership schools outside core hours.
But the Greens said the move could force some clubs to close and claimed there had not been a full consultation on the plan.
Green councillor Alex Staniforth has submitted a motion to next week’s full council meeting calling for the £35 charge to be delayed
He said: “The proposal to add £35 an hour to hire charges of sports facilities at less popular times was very much under the radar of this year’s budget process.
“Having met with some of the clubs and sports most affected I can see just what a dramatic impact it will have on finances, on participation and even, in some cases, on club viability.
“Although I know that Edinburgh Leisure is seeking to do what it can to sort alternative slots for clubs, they are now right up against the summer break. That is why I think a pause is needed to allow the impact on clubs to be properly assessed and other options to be considered.”
Last month, Scottish basketball chiefs branded the increase in hire charges a “tax on indoor sports”, claiming it could force community-based clubs to close.
Basketball Scotland chief executive Kevin Pringle said: “The new pricing policy will put access to basketball beyond the means of people who need it most.”
The price increase is linked to Edinburgh Leisure taking on responsibility for letting school facilities and a standardisation of charges.
The council said Edinburgh Leisure’s role in managing school bookings would help to open up access to school sports facilities which were under-used out of school hours.