More businesses may be given rate relief

MORE businesses in Boston town centre may be given temporary relief from their business rates after they met with representatives from the Lincoln Valuation Office to appeal for more help in tackling the impact of the market place improvement works.

Dozens of local business owners turned out to a meeting set up by the Boston BID to put forward their points of view on why they believe the 15 per cent rate relief which has been imposed on the Market Place during the works should be extended and increased.

At the heated meeting, which took place at the Assembly Room on Tuesday, they said their businesses were in danger of closing down because the extensive works were keeping people away from the town centre and away from their stores, and said they needed as much help as possible. Many pushed for a total removal of rates untilt the work was over.

One business owner said: “How can we expect to weather this? No matter whether we’ve got ten people coming through the door or 100 people coming through the door we still have the same overheads.”

Another person said: “If you don’t sort this out before Christmas you won’t have any more little businesses left in Boston. We’re not getting people through the door to be able to pay the rates.”

Representatives from several businesses in the town said they were worried that decisions over which businesses would be given the rate reduction were based in Lincoln, and did not know the area, meaning some companies close to the market place were excluded. James Edwards estate agents, on Fish Hill, were not considered for the reduction, despite the company’s proximity to the Market Place.

Valuation Office general services manager Ros Creasey said that she would take people’s opinions back to the office and reconsider the extent of the rate relief. She said that any decisions would be made and passed on to the rate collectors at Boston Borough Council by the end of this week.

At the same meeting, business owners made an impassioned call for a meeting with the council where they could explain the devastating impact they believed the £2 million Market Place project and other works which are taking place on Norfolk Street and see what the authority could do to help.

BID manager Niall Armstrong said at the meeting that he planned to speak to the council and try and organise a meeting with Boston Borough Council, Lincolnshire County Council and contractors Ringway as soon as possible.

What are you thoughts on the effect of the Market Place works? Email your views to laura.hammond@jpress.co.uk.