Pricing Policies

Events Pricing Policy

Approved Date 21 February 2017
Review Date 31 March 2018
Related Legislation
Applicable Section of Legislation
Related Policies,
Filming and photography policy
Pricing policy for licensed activities
Replaces n/a
Policy Lead
(Name/Position/Contact details) 
Head of Communications
Sponsor Directorate  OD & Community Planning
Version  Version 1

Revision record 

Date Version Revision Description
21.2.17 1 Original version

1. Title and summary

1.1. The Events Policy sets out the framework of pricing structures and concessions for the facilitation of events on Council-owned land within the context of the overarching corporate principles set out in the Corporate Pricing Policy Framework.

2. Purpose and Aims

2.1. The purpose of this policy is to provide an appropriate pricing framework for events held on Council land by third parties, which will ensure venues are accessible and affordable and that Council seeks to recover some of the costs associated with the facilitation of events.

2.2. The aims of the Policy are:

  • to ensure charges are fair and equitable and support the Council’s objective to promote equality of opportunity;
  • to operate a tariff of charges for the consideration of and facilitation of events, so as to recoup a reasonable proportion of Council’s expenditure in order to avoid an undue burden on ratepayers;
  • to ensure that such charges, where relevant, are competitive within the context of existing market conditions;
  • to increase the number of third-party events held in the Borough and so contribute to the quality of life of Mid and East Antrim Borough residents and the experiences of visitors to the Borough;
  • in recognition of Council’s social responsibility, to enable flexibility within the policy to support specific events free of charge or at a reduced rate, with the agreement of the Director and Head of Service;
  • to ensure specific concessionary rates for defined groupings are applied consistently throughout the Borough;
  • to develop, implement and keep under review specific concessionary rates to promote the achievement of council objectives and strategies and ensure these are applied consistently throughout the Borough; and
  • to establish an annual pricing review process.

3. Context

3.1. In addition to the overarching principles set out in the Corporate Pricing Policy Framework this policy is reflective of relevant legislation, regional initiatives and strategies and Council strategies specific to events. 

4. Scope

4.1. This policy applies to all charges for events held on Council land and will replace policies of predecessor councils that continued to operate while this policy was being developed. The Service Pricing Schedule will become operational on 1 April 2017.

4.2. The ability of the Council to charge for services it provides falls into two categories:

  • Statutory charges - Charges are set nationally and regionally and local authorities have little or no opportunity to control such charges. (For example planning fees and registrar fees). No statutory charges apply in the context of events.
  • Discretionary charges - Local authorities can make their own decisions on setting such charges. (For example, car park charges, cemetery charges or leisure centre charges).

5. Harmonisation of events categorisation across the Borough

5.1. For the purposes of categorisation of events on land owned by Council, the following thresholds and event categories are defined:

Capacity (attendees per day) Category Reach
5,000+ Major event (tier 1) International / national
2,000 – 4,999 Large-scale event (tier 2)  Regional
500 – 1,999 Medium-scale event (tier 3) Borough and environs
0 – 499 Small-scale event (tier 4) Local / community

The categories outlined above are intended as a guide and will depend on the nature of the event.

6. Site fees

6.1. Site fees are applicable for all events that are intended to generate a profit (termed Commercial events) and usually have an entrance fee attached. Site fees also apply to concerts, circuses and funfairs.

6.2. Each of Council’s event spaces will carry individual site costs for operating and non-operating days. Site costs are dependent on:

  • the scale of use of a site;
  • the full duration of closure or occupation of the site, or part of the site, including set-up and take-down;
  • requests for use of additional space or services in connection with the event, such use of Council car parks, toilets or changing facilities etc.
  • the likely number of tickets to be sold for the event / concert, where the event is a ticketed concert.
  • the nature of the event; and
  • perceived associated benefits to the region, the Borough and the ratepayer.

On this basis, site fees will be set on a case-by-case basis, but will be no less than £200 per operating day per site.

6.3. For all sites, the non-operational day rate for closure of the facility is £50 + vat.

6.4. Flexibility will be retained to permit officers to negotiate or waive fees if an event is considered particularly advantageous for the Borough. Negotiated fees are subject to approval by the Chief Executive. Fees waived in full are subject to approval by the Policy and Resources Committee.

6.5. In addition, Council reserves the right to vary the charge for commercial events where the proposed entrance fees are considered by Council to be high.

6.6. Site fees for applications for private hire events, such as weddings and private parties requested to be held in an open space, will be assessed on a case-bycase basis.

7. Service fees – applications, licences and bonds

7.1. Consideration of event applications can take a considerable amount of officer time, depending on the size and type of event being considered, with larger events typically taking more time.

7.2. An application fee applies on a sliding scale for those seeking to use Council land for the purposes of an event. A number of exemptions apply and a 75% reduction is applied for not-for-profit events, for example community or charity events. The full application fees are outlined below. 

Capacity (attendees per day) Category Application fee
5,000+ Major event (tier 1) £750 + vat
2,000 – 4,999 Large-scale event (tier 2) £400 + vat
500 – 1,999 Medium-scale event (tier 3)  £200 + vat
0 – 499 Small-scale event (tier 4) £100 + vat

7.3. Council will consider event applications on a first-come-first-served basis. Applicants must pay the application service fee at the point of application. Applicants who receive an offer of grant funding in respect of an event will be able to claim event application fess as eligible expenditure.

7.4. Event organisers are responsible for seeking authorisation and making payments in respect of licensable activities including the sale of alcohol and relevant entertainments provision. Fees in this regard are covered within the pricing schedule for licensed activities, managed by Regulatory Services.

7.5. Applicants submitting an application to use Council land for any Commercial event will be required to make a refundable deposit, payable within 7 days of the venue being agreed for use by Council in order to secure the booking and in any case no less than 28 days prior to the date of the event. The deposit will act as a Bond payment for the event and is set at £500. The bond payment for events where more than 5,000 people are expected to attend is £1,000.

7.6. If any damage occurs to the site, the deposit will not be returned and the Applicant will be liable for any additional costs to return the site to its preevent condition. In addition, if the organiser cancels the event the deposit will not be returned and the usual timescales for payment will still apply. Council officers will inspect and report on the condition of the site both before and after the event.

8. Concessionary Pricing and Exemptions

8.1. Not-for-profit events, for example those held solely for the benefit of registered charities, will not incur a site fee. A refundable Bond payment may still apply depending on the nature of the event.

8.2. Applications to host not-for-profit events will incur an application service fee, set at 25% of the standard rate. The current nominated Mayor’s Charity will be exempt from paying an application fee.

8.3. Applications must be received from the charities themselves, or include a signed letter of endorsement from the charity. Not-for-profit and/or charitable organisations must be able to provide an official charity number and demonstrate that all proceeds (over and above costs) will be for the charity.

8.4. For the purposes of this policy, Community Events are defined as those that are organised by or on behalf of constituted community or voluntary groups, for the benefit of the Borough or local residents. Community events do not carry an entrance or ticket fee – those that do will be considered commercial in nature. 

8.5. Community events will not provide significant commercial or advertising benefit opportunities to a profit-making business or organisation. Community event organisers must ensure that all profits raised at the event, including fees charged for commercial stallholders, are used for the benefit of the community.

8.6. Applications to host community events will incur an application service fee, set at 25% of the standard rate. Community events will not incur a site fee. A refundable Bond payment may still apply depending on the nature of the event.

8.7. Constituted community groups and associations within Mid and East Antrim in receipt of grant funding from Council for the running of an event will be exempt from all charges.

8.8. Where the costs of providing a venue or space that are incurred by Council exceed the fees paid under this policy, or where no fee is applied, Council may apply charges on a cost recovery basis. Examples include facilitation of events at Ballymena Showgrounds or loss of income resulting from use of a Council car park on standard operating days.

9. Pricing Review

9.1. This pricing policy is subject to review as part of the corporate review of events.

9.2. An Annual Review of pricing will be conducted by 30 September each year as part of the budget setting process. Where appropriate annual reviews will take into account:

(a) Inflationary pressures;
(b) Actual or potential impact of competition in terms of price and quality;
(c) Trends in demand and the forecast effect of price variations;
(d) The results of customer feedback and surveys;
(e) Council and Service budget targets;
(f) Cost structure implications arising from developments such as investments in the service or changes in legislation affecting payroll costs;
(g) The collective impact of price variations on other service areas;
(h) The potential for more effective alternative charging structures;
(i) Proposals for targeted promotions and the results of evaluations of previous promotions;
(j) Consider the impact of concessionary rates in accordance with Council’s corporate objectives and the review of any potential adverse impact.

10. Equality Screening

This policy has been equality screened with no adverse impact identified and therefore an Equality Impact Assessment is not required.

11. Appendices

Full Discretionary Pricing Schedule for Event facilitation