GETTING married in Bracknell could cost up to £200 more next year.

This price rise is one of a number of other “big hikes” in fees set out in the council’s budget plans.

Further noticeable fee increases include a 19 per cent rise in individual citizenship ceremonies at the Haversham Room from 2020 (an increase of £95), a 12.5 per cent rise in the cost of a monthly car parking season ticket at Braccan Walk (£5 more a month), and an almost 9 per cent hike in the cost of the burial of a body by the council’s cemetery staff (£100 rise).

Councillors questioned a number of rises to fees for council services, including marriage price increases, at a meeting on Tuesday (January 8).

Councillor Robert Angell said: “From my perspective, I have to represent the residents and ask why?”

Speaking about the proposed increases in monthly car parking charges, Cllr Angell continued: “We have to balance the budget, but why 12.5 per cent?

“Are we picking numbers out of the air?”

An officer replied that some of the figures were chosen to ensure price increases were “rounded”.

The 12.5 per cent car parking increase represents a hike from £40 to £45 for a monthly weekend pass - meaning motorists could pay up to £60 more a year.

The officer also explained the price hike for monthly parking season tickets came after car hourly parking charges for the council’s town car parks were frozen for a year in September.

Cllr Angell also asked officers why there was a 139.9 per cent (£65.75) price hike for a fee to transfer a hackney carriage to a new owner.

This is not the only noticeable price hike taxi drivers could be subject to, with five-year licences to operate in the borough set to increase by more than £180 and a fee for replacement number plates potentially rising by 116 per cent (£30).

Officers told councillors this price increase was to bring prices in line with fees set by West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council, who are part of the Public Protection Partnership along with Bracknell Forest Council (BFC).

The fee changes were discussed by councillors at a meeting of the council’s environment, community and culture overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday, January 8 before the executive decides whether to approve the price list next month.

Later in the meeting, Andrew Hunter, Director of Place, Planning and Regeneration at BFC, gave an update on the council’s planning and building control review.

He told councillors he had been “pleased and surprised at the commercial approach of the staff” in this department.

Councillors also heard about how the LED lighting programme in the borough is progressing well, with more than 11,000 lights installed and 1,000 new columns being erected.