Chatteris business rates could be re-evaluated

The George Hotel at Chatteris

The George Hotel at Chatteris - Credit: Archant

Campaigners hope that the new Chatteris Tesco store will provide an opportunity to have the town’s business rates re-evaluated.

MP Steve Barclay.

MP Steve Barclay. - Credit: Archant

George Hotel landlord Robbie Lyons and MP Steve Barclay hosted a meeting attended by businesses from Chatteris in a bid to urge a business rates rethink.

Shop keepers said business rates were too high for a town like Chatteris which is suffering as a result of the economic downturn.

Satish Karia, who runs the town’s Post Office, said the situation was so bad he may have to consider closing if something was not done to improve the situation, a move town and district councillor Florence Newell said would hit the community hard.

Mr Lyons approached Mr Barclay for help after losing a seven year fight to have his rates bill examined by the national valuation office because he pays more for his Chatteris pub than a similar inn in London.

Mr Barclay said: “The opening of Tesco could provide the grounds we need to have Chatteris re-assessed and if it is successful then it could also be applied in Wisbech and Whittlesey, which have both also just had new supermarkets and in Wisbech’s case also a new retail park.”

Valuation officer Janet Alexander said that once set there were limited reasons for businesses to appeal. The main reason is if there is a material change of circumstances that affects rateable value.

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This could include road works that have a direct impact, building works or demolition nearby, changes to road layouts or pedestrianisation, an increase in the number of vacant properties or a new development like a large superstore that competes with existing businesses.

“I am hopeful the proposed opening of the Tesco store next spring could provide the key to having the rateable values for businesses in Chatteris re-assessed and he now plans to look at making the case to the Valuation Office,” Mr Barclay said.

Mrs Alexander agreed to look at the case and to take another look at the problems faced by Mr Lyons at the George after agreeing his rates bill did appear to be out of sync with other properties in the town.

Mr Lyons said: “It will be great if my case is finally looked at. I have tried to appeal and been refused and the door seemed to be closed to me. Now it appears my case is going to be re-examined and I’m grateful for that.”