Chamber of Trade and Commerce gathers to discuss impact of business rate rise in Southwold

Southwold Promenade.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Southwold Promenade. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

More than 50 people attended the annual meeting of Southwold and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

The meeting, held on February 20, particularly concentrated on the proposed business rate rises due to be enforced this April.

With an average 177pc increase to business rates in Southwold, threatening the futures of many of the independent traders of the coastal town.

The annual meeting also saw the election of Rebecca Bishop, from the Two Magpies Bakery, to the position of chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

She said: 'We are waiting until the end of February to hear whether any of the high street zones valuations have been reassessed as a result of the information provided to the VOA (Valuations Office Agency).

'We have asked for rate relief from them and they are looking at Southwold independent businesses that are under threat for survival because of the rates.

'They have asked a number of businesses to provide business information so that they can conduct case studies to assess the situation.

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'We hope they will provide us with some business rate relief - without this help Southwold High Street faces challenging times ahead.'

An online petition to Parliament, opposing the business rate increases, has been set up and can be signed by visiting: www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/175433

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