Cap on business rates in Autumn Statement could help 'ghost town' Shenley Road

Borehamwood Times: Empty shops in Shenley Road Empty shops in Shenley Road

Business owners in Borehamwood’s “ghost town” high street have given a guarded welcome to the business rate cap.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced yesterday in his Autumn Statement that increases in business rates would be capped at two per cent instead of being linked with inflation.

Business rates were set to rise by 3.2 per cent next year, based on September's Retail Prices Index measure of inflation.

The chancellor said the cap could save businesses up to £3,375.

Mr Osborne also pledged to introduce a "reoccupation relief" - halving business rates for businesses moving into vacant premises.

Edwin Nelken, who owns Nelken Jewellers in Shenley Road, said he felt the cap was a “start in the right direction”.

However he said rents were still far too high, forcing many shops out of business, and capping business rates would not solve that problem.

He said: “Any increase in business rates is too much. I pay £30,000 a year in rent and £10,000 in business rates. This cap won’t make things dramatically better.”

There are currently 17 empty shops in Borehamwood's high street, and business owners believe the problem began when business rates began to rise five years ago, with some seeing an increase of 35 per cent since 2008.

Bharat Vyas, who owns Insight Opticians in Shenley Road, has been on the high street since 1977, when Shenley Road was bustling.

In that time he has seen the number of empty shops on the high street increase dramatically, with 17 now lying deserted.

He said: “All the walking trade has gone. People go to Tesco or The Boulevard, they don’t come here anymore.

“At the moment rates are just too high and they keep going up and up. I pay £9,000 a year meaning it is very difficult to make ends meet. The council gives us 18 months to pay, but it’s still very hard to find the money.

“It’s a good thing the Chancellor is doing something to cap businesses rates, hopefully it will attract new shops to the area.”

Hertsmere Connect, which represents businesses in Hertsmere, has welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to finally act on business rates.

Chief executive of Hertsmere Connect and Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce Ian Welland said: “This announcement to cap business rates is extremely positive.

“The general feeling of business is that the measures perhaps need to be stronger to boost companies and indeed help cash flow and investment.

“Hertsmere Connect agrees the Chancellor could have been more ambitious, but at least the pressure is on to reform the business rates system.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:31am Sat 7 Dec 13

Sasha12 says...

We also need to stop having all these fast food cafes restaurants deli's etc there are more eating place than people in the town which also doesn't encourage people to walk through the town if there was more shops selling other things but food then people are more likely to shop in the town not just on market days.
We also need to stop having all these fast food cafes restaurants deli's etc there are more eating place than people in the town which also doesn't encourage people to walk through the town if there was more shops selling other things but food then people are more likely to shop in the town not just on market days. Sasha12

3:23pm Sat 7 Dec 13

Palma21 says...

For the sake of the other shops and businesses the council should force the owner of the parade of shops near Zinco's to do something rather than allow them to be empty and the flats above them all look a disgrace too. Lowering the business rate in this case is not going to make any difference if there is no one occupying them. What about compulsory purchase ?
For the sake of the other shops and businesses the council should force the owner of the parade of shops near Zinco's to do something rather than allow them to be empty and the flats above them all look a disgrace too. Lowering the business rate in this case is not going to make any difference if there is no one occupying them. What about compulsory purchase ? Palma21

7:47pm Sat 7 Dec 13

david Burcombe says...

Palma21 wrote:
For the sake of the other shops and businesses the council should force the owner of the parade of shops near Zinco's to do something rather than allow them to be empty and the flats above them all look a disgrace too. Lowering the business rate in this case is not going to make any difference if there is no one occupying them. What about compulsory purchase ?
I fully agree I have been stating this for over a year Compulsory purchase. Shops that were empty for 6 months were then occupied but the shops shown in this picture is it 5 years like this
[quote][p][bold]Palma21[/bold] wrote: For the sake of the other shops and businesses the council should force the owner of the parade of shops near Zinco's to do something rather than allow them to be empty and the flats above them all look a disgrace too. Lowering the business rate in this case is not going to make any difference if there is no one occupying them. What about compulsory purchase ?[/p][/quote]I fully agree I have been stating this for over a year Compulsory purchase. Shops that were empty for 6 months were then occupied but the shops shown in this picture is it 5 years like this david Burcombe

10:00am Mon 9 Dec 13

mr.taxpayer says...

Who owns the shops above Jane Grey/Tonibells etc.? Can't the council force the owners to improve them or get new shops trading in them?

I just can't understand why a landlord would want rents so high that no-one rents them. Surely a lower rent would be better than NO rent??????

Something fishy going on I think.
Who owns the shops above Jane Grey/Tonibells etc.? Can't the council force the owners to improve them or get new shops trading in them? I just can't understand why a landlord would want rents so high that no-one rents them. Surely a lower rent would be better than NO rent?????? Something fishy going on I think. mr.taxpayer

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree