Summit to put business rates in Fenland under the microscope

The George Hotel in Chatteris.

The George Hotel in Chatteris. - Credit: Archant

The issue of business rates in Chatteris is set to be discussed at a special summit next month.

The summit, hosted by MP Steve Barclay, will welcome business representatives along with Fenland District Council officers and a representative from the Valuation Office, which is responsible for determining business rates.

The summit has been prompted by hotelier Robbie Lyons, who owns The George in Market Hill, Chatteris.

He contacted MP Steve Barclay after waging a nine year fight to get his business rates reduced following a more than 50 per cent rise.

Mr Lyons, who also owns properties in London and Felixstowe, said: “In 2005 the rateable value was £17,500 on The George but it was then increased to £40,000 and I have tried to find out why it is so high.

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“I have tried to appeal and that has been rejected without any reason being given.

“Business rates have forced some businesses in the town to close which is not good for Chatteris.

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“The business people used to come in here for meetings and coffee so my trade has been hit.

“My property in Felixstowe overlooks the beach and the rates are only £4,500, and in London the property is Muswell Hill, one of the most expensive areas, and is a similar size to The George but the rates are just £18,000.”

Mr Barclay, MP for North East Cambs, said: “Business rates is one of the issues that comes up time and again when I meet with representatives from the local business community.

“It is clear there is an issue and that it is particularly bad in Chatteris, where I am aware some shops have been forced to close because of the rates.

“We need to find a solution that helps our businesses and in turn our high streets and that is what we are aiming to do at next month’s summit.

“I can’t personally change the formula used to calculate business rates but what I can do is work with local businesses to challenge whether the starting point used to assess the rates in Chatteris, which is the rentable market value, is correct given our local circumstances.

“I have been pulling together a breakdown of the rates paid by businesses across Chatteris and comparing it with other parts of the country and the summit will be an opportunity to present those findings and to establish why the rentable market value has been incorrectly set in Chatteris.”

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