Rate relief pleas by Suttons’ area gains pace after MP intervention

Coun Andy Tennant, a South Holland District Council member for Long Sutton, has described the potential doubling of business rates for the town as a "crazy situation".  Photo by Mike Donovan.  Photo: SG070812-71MD.
Coun Andy Tennant, a South Holland District Council member for Long Sutton, has described the potential doubling of business rates for the town as a "crazy situation". Photo by Mike Donovan. Photo: SG070812-71MD.
  • Hayes makes ‘strong representations’ Communities Secretary
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Pressure is growing from businesses and political leaders in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge for help with “illogical” rate rises.

The Lincolnshire Free Press reported last December that about 45 per cent of businesses in Long Sutton town centre faced a “significant increase” in their business rates, according to an estate agent based there.

David Wilson, partner with Geoffrey Collings Estate Agents, feared that if bills of “almost double the rateable values of many of the businesses premises in Long Sutton”, stayed in place, “the viability and vitality of the town centre could be compromised”.

Elaine Tunnard, of Sheila Tiller Fashions in Market Place, said: “It is illogical that a small town should have such an incredible rise, whilst others around here with many more shops remain the same”.

Since then, South Holland District Council cabinet member Coun Peter Coupland wrote to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, expressing his “great concern” about the steep business rates.

Coun Andy Tennant, Long Sutton district councillor, said: “The problems are magnified, the further away from Spalding you go and it seems to me a crazy situation when people who live such a long way away from here get to determine how much rates businesses have to pay.”

Coun Michael Booth, South Holland District Council member for Sutton Bridge.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG280315-212TW.

Coun Michael Booth, South Holland District Council member for Sutton Bridge. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG280315-212TW.

The new rates come into effect on April 1 after a revaluation process last September by a Government body known as the Valuation Office Agency.

One Long Sutton business, PeeWee Saddlery, in Hoddins Lane, closed two weeks ago after its valuation nearly doubled from £9,500 to £18,500.

Coun Michael Booth, district councillor for Sutton Bridge, said: “There’s going to be a meeting with the businesses in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge and, hopefully, pressure can be put on the Government.

“There were some indications that it was going to do something in the Budget and we’ll analyse what it’s thrown up before seeing what the feelings are of businesses here.”

It seems to me a crazy situation when people who live such a long way away from here get to determine how much rates businesses have to pay

Coun Andy Tennant, South Holland District Council member for Long Sutton

In Wednesday’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £300 million relief fund for councils to help businesses.

John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, said: “I’ve already made strong representations to Sajid Javid and I’m of a very strong mind that we must look after our small, independent traders.

“They give life and colour to the area and I’ll always stand up for them.

“So the measures confirmed in the Budget should help alleviate fears held by some businesses and now we must make sure that a good chunk of the relief fund ends up in Lincolnshire.”

• Fears of business rate rises in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge