Decision details

Business Rates for the Dereham Pilot Scheme

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To consider the introduction of a discretionary retail rate relief scheme within the five market towns of Breckland, following the Dereham pilot scheme completion.  The retail rate relief scheme could attract investment and limit areas of retail decline.  It is anticipated that this scheme could positively assist in a reduction in the number of empty retail units in targeted areas of Breckland’s five market towns.

Decision:

Recommend to Council that the discretionary retail rate relief scheme within the five market towns of Breckland be adopted.

Reasons for the decision:

Breckland Council has a clear commitment to helping its market towns to thrive in order that they in turn provide the required support to surrounding villages and hinterlands.  It is recognised that Breckland’s market towns need to be vibrant and busy, offering an interesting and enjoyable experience to visitors.  Out of town and online shopping have drawn many people away from town centres; thus, making it hard for businesses to sustain a presence on the High Street.  High rents, competition and business rates add to the problems resulting in void premises, a preponderance of charity shops in some town centres and low quality retail offers in others.

Alternative options considered:

1.    To consider the introduction of a discretionary business rate relief scheme for new retail businesses filling empty properties within the five market towns of Breckland.  The scheme would commence in early 2018 with applications accepted over a 12 month period.  The scheme would offer up to 80% business rates relief for a 12 month period and would be targeted at businesses that meet all eligible criteria.  The scheme as a whole would be reviewed on an annual basis.  Financial details of the scheme are shown within the attached spreadsheet (Appendix 2).

 

2.    Do nothing; continue to offer the current schemes of small business relief and the Government Empty Premises relief.

Report author: Tim Mills

Publication date: 06/09/2017

Date of decision: 05/09/2017

Decided at meeting: 05/09/2017 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: