Local authorities have a new money-making idea to make up for the funding shortfall from central government – to charge people such as personal trainers for using the parks as their workplace. Potentially even professional dog-walkers and nannies could have to pay. Hammersmith and Fulham parks department announced the move recently. Parks suffer from “recurring activities that took place on a commercial basis, such as private football coaching, which needed to be identified and charged”. The council said this month that use of the parks is free “however, as soon as personal trainers start charging and making money out of the park, they are running a business and would need a licence,” a report in FM World said.
Personal trainers have argued that they already pay for the upkeep of the parks through their council tax, but there is a reasonable argument that as they’re using them to generate commercial revenue, they could not necessarily do elsewhere (or would be charged to do so) then they should contribute some of that revenue to the park’s owner. Other businesses pay for the rent and upkeep of their own workplaces after all.