Council plans to charge people to get into the Kibble Palace at the Botanic Gardens have been stalled for now after campaigners presented a petition to councillors today.
Councillor Anthony Carroll called for consultation to take place first on the bid to charge £3 for adults and children £1.50 as well as an equality impact assessment.
The Scottish Greens councillor put forward the amendment, which was agreed, after campaigners put forward reasons the historic glasshouse should be free to access.
Their petition attracted more than 2,000 signatures.
A campaigner gave examples of the wide variety of people who visit the Kibble, which has 19 benches.
She pointed out home schooled children make a lot of use of Kibble Palace and teachers can’t recommend a visit to the glass house for their pupils on a topic study if it isn’t free.
She said: “Many adults are bringing their young children. It is a great escape as people around there tend to live in flats. It is great to get out of the flat instead of being cooped up. It is a warm place for a picnic.”
She said: “A single parent visiting once each weekend would face charges of £156 a year plus £78 for each child so they won’t be going. That is why there is going to be such a massive reduction in the number of visits.”
Councillor Carroll said: “I’m pleased that all parties were able to support our amendment calling for the City Administration Committee (CAC) to bring proper community consultation and equality impact assessment to the Kibble Palace fee decision.
“The Kibble Palace is a key asset in our city for free access to our animal and plant life, with a vibrant local community using it. Scores of young people have their first experience of nature there – it’s been a hub for social connections for many, and I include myself as one who has taken someone there as a free date.
“I’d urge CAC to support our call for proper community consultation & equality impact assessments, as well as explore other revenue raising options before any idea of a charge is brought in.”
The amendment was presented to the wellbeing, equalities, communities, culture and engagement city policy committee today.
It said a recommendation is to be made to the city administration committee requesting that an equality impact assessment is carried out and for consultation with relevant stakeholders, communities businesses and local area partnerships affected before the introduction of the policy.
The bid to introduce charges was expected to bring in £185,000 annually for the council based on 100,000 footfall.
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