Decision details

Section 47 Discretionary Business Rates Relief

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

To inform members of the outcome following consultation of the Business Rates Relief guidance and mapping of eligible zoning with Dereham Town Council and Dereham Business Forum.

Decision:

Recommend to Full Council that:

 

1.    The revised Business Rates Relief eligibility guidance and precise boundaries of the zones be suitable for the scheme to commence from April 2016.

 

2.    Delegated authority be granted to the S151 Officer, in consultation with the Executive Member for Finance, to award discretionary business rates relief in line with the policy guidance.

Reasons for the decision:

We have a clear corporate commitment to supporting our market towns to thrive in order that they in turn provide the required support to surrounding villages and hinterlands. We recognise that in the current changing “shopping” environment in order to succeed Breckland’s market towns need to be vibrant and busy drawing people in to visit a multitude of different offerings, making a shopping trip an interesting and enjoyable experience.  Out of town shopping and internet have drawn many people away from town centres, thus businesses find it extremely hard to make ends meet and fail; as a result we are finding that shops remain empty for significant periods.  High rents, location of the premises, competition, business rates, and poor footfall all add to this scenario and unfortunately the upshot is the natural presence of more charity shops opening taking advantage of low business rates applicable to that sector as retail units become empty.

We recognise that we must be able to respond flexibly to the needs of retail businesses within the five market towns, enabling each to support strong and sustainable local communities with growing business sectors.  In order to achieve this and to bring new retail entrepreneurs to a level playing field with charity shops we look to introduce the discretionary business rates relief scheme.

 

Alternative options considered:

1.    To approve the recommendations.

 

2.    To not approve the recommendations and ask for a further review.

Report author: Julie Kennealy

Publication date: 10/02/2016

Date of decision: 09/02/2016

Decided at meeting: 09/02/2016 - Cabinet

Effective from: 18/02/2016

Accompanying Documents: