No shelves or air conditioning could spell no business rates for mothballed Chatteris Tesco store

Tesco, Chatteris.

Tesco, Chatteris. - Credit: Archant

Tesco may avoid paying business rates on their mothballed Chatteris store it emerged this week because technically the building is unfinished.

Fenland District Council’s Chief Executive Paul Medd said they were doing everything they could to ensure the supermarket giants pay rates on the building, but there is a question mark over whether or not they will have to cough up the cash because the building still needs completing.

The fact Tesco may not have to pay rates came up during a discussion on the council’s medium term financial plan by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Council Leader John Clark said a meeting is set for next week with Tesco to discuss what they are doing to find a fee-paying tenant for the building, which had been due to open as a supermarket this summer, and to also push for them to start paying.

He said there was a question mark over whether or not the building was deemed complete because shelving needed to be installed and there were other things still to do such as fitting cooling vents on the roof.

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Councillor Kit Owen questioned: “It is purpose built as a supermarket but because it has not got shelving and air conditioning it might be deemed incomplete? That seems ridiculous.”

Mr Medd shared members frustrations and they were doing absolutely everything they could to ensure Tesco pay business rates. We have written to the Valuation Office to get them to apply business rates.”

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Cllr Clark pointed out house builders used to leave the bathroom and kitchens unfinished to avoid paying charges.

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