Community groups could be hit with high room rental bills amid confusion over changes to charges, it is claimed.

Treuddyn councillor Carolyn Thomas, a former committee member of Treuddyn Playgroup, said a shake-up of room rental charges meant groups were paying by the hour and not by the session as they had done previously.

She said: “I am concerned that playgroups hiring rooms may not be fully aware until too late that their bills could be double what they have budgeted for.

“The new rates are per hour rather than per session.

“Rooms are pre-booked per term, the increase will be backdated from April and the bills will not arrive until July.”

Flintshire Council’s youth services department increased its rental charges in April after it was discovered youth centres were subsidising community groups by about £40,000 per year.

Treuddyn Under-Fives Playgroup has seen its rental costs soar from £8.50 to £17.50 per session.

The club has had to cut back on setting-up time and hold planning sessions in another location in an attempt to reduce costs to £14 per session.

Cllr Thomas urged playgroups to seek help from the Flintshire Council if they were struggling to cover costs.

She added: “Playgroups need to calculate their finances now before the bills arrive and if there are hardship cases, they need to write to Ian Budd, director of lifelong learning, as there is grant funding and advice available to help them through this difficult time

“Playgroups also need to be aware now of how the increases will affect them when planning opening hours and calculating fees for the new school year in September.”