A tax on tickets for events like festivals and gigs in Glasgow parks is to rise, while Queen’s Park glasshouse won’t reopen and Clydesdale horses will be given away under council budget plans.
Animals, birds and insects from the glasshouse will be rehomed, while the horses, which are at retirement age and were previously kept in Pollok Country Park, are being gifted to a “horse enthusiast”.
The measures are all included in a review of parks services, which was agreed when setting the budget last month as part of proposals to cover a funding shortfall of around £49m. They are expected to save £330,000.
Grass cutting in parks will also be reduced, from up to 10 cuts per growing season to a maximum of seven, and five staff from the Queen’s Park glasshouse can “go forward for redeployment”.
Three park rangers who have already left the council will not be replaced.
An environmental levy on tickets was introduced in 2019 to “support the maintenance of the parks infrastructure so they can continue to hold events for future years”.
For events with weekend tickets over £100 the levy had been set at £2.50, but it will now rise to £4 per ticket in 2023/24 and £4.50 per ticket in 2024/25.
At any event with a capacity of 500 to 4,999 people with tickets less than £15, the levy will increase 25p per ticket to 50p a ticket. There is no charge for non-commercial community events.
The levy has previously been criticised by festival bosses, with TRNSMT organiser Geoff Ellis threatening to take events elsewhere ahead of its introduction.
It is understood, despite the cuts to grass cutting, city and district parks will receive a higher level of maintenance, but there will be more wildflower meadows and rewilding.
Queen’s Park glasshouse has been closed to the public for a number of years and the council has said the building needs significant investment.
Council staff have been working with a consultant on how the animals, birds and insects can be homed. They will also work with organisations in the area in an effort to find a solution which transfers the glasshouse to local ownership and management.
Horses from Pollok Park have been stabled outside Glasgow. They are now at retirement age and will be gifted to a Clydesdale horse enthusiast, the council has said.
Funding from the UK Government has been secured for a £13m project to restore and redevelop the A-listed courtyard, stables and sawmill in the park.
It will include a creation of a “net-zero carbon ‘living’ heritage centre” and visitor attraction based “around the famous Clydesdale Horses, and the development of traditional power generation into modern renewable technologies”.
A council spokesman said horses would be hired for events and other special occasions.
He added: “These measures were agreed by councillors as part of the council’s budget for 2023/24, which has required the council to identify almost £50m worth savings to cover a funding gap for this year.
“The budget aimed to protect services and jobs wherever possible. Any revenue raised as part of the budget will go to support a range of services.”
When presenting the budget, city treasurer Ricky Bell, SNP, said: “This is not the budget any of us would wish to deliver. But it is one which has gone a considerable distance to protect and maintain those services upon which our communities depend.
“It’s a budget also shaped by the most turbulent economic and financial context most people can remember.”