02 FEB 2017

MP and Mayor Challenge Minister over Southwold Business Rate Rise

Therese was joined by Southwold Mayor, Cllr Melanie Tucker yesterday as they pressed the case with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison and the Valuation Office Agency over the substantial increase in business rates set for Southwold High Street.

From April businesses will see the amount they pay in rates change due to the first revaluation of commercial property since 2008.

Therese said: "I recognise the problems that traders in Southwold High Street are facing with these proposed increases. The town is successful but I was concerned that the VOA had overestimated when considering new rateable values. It was a constructive meeting with the Minister and I am pleased to hear from the VOA's Chief Valuer that people are already successfully challenging before the formal appeals process has started. I have previously written to all businesses on the High Street with details of how they can appeal the change if they think it is unfair. We discussed the attractions of a varied High Street and the risk posed by a one size fits all valuation policy. "

Melanie Tucker said: "Therese made a strong case for independent businesses in the town and why they are so important to Southwold and the local economy. I am encouraged that the Minister listened to our case during a lengthy meeting, with the VOA's Chief Valuer also in attendance."

Melanie added: "I am pleased that the Minister said she is listening and is open to suggestions. However, we need to continue to press on the part of Southwold's independent traders in order to achieve the best outcome for them."

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