Lowestoft gym couple owe £120,000 in rates

Chris Broadley

Chris Broadley - Credit: Archant

A Lowestoft couple who used to run a gym in the south of town are being chased for £120,000 in unpaid business rates.

Christopher and Debra Broadley have been made the subject of a bankruptcy order after they failed to pay £120,051 in business rates while they ran Nirvana Fitness.

The order means Waveney District Council can now pursue the couple for the £120,051 owed to it.

Mr Bradley and his wife no longer run the gym as it is now in possession of a bank as they are insolvent.

However it is hoped that a consortium of staff will buy the gym on the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate as a going concern.

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The Broadleys, who have been married for 20 years, set up the gym six years ago.

It now has 1,400 members and regularly saw Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo use facilities there. In a statement Waveney said the couple had 'persistently failed' to make business rates payments leading to the authority going to a court in Norwich to get the bankruptcy order issued.

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Mike Barnard, Waveney's portfolio holder for resources, welcomed the bankruptcy order.

He said 'Waveney District Council will not tolerate non payment of non domestic rates and council tax and will continue to use all recovery methods to pursue those who choose not to pay.

'This is public money and cheats those individuals and businesses who pay and understand their obligations as part of the Waveney community.

'This is an excellent result and sends out a strong message to those who think they can get away with offences such as these.'

Under new business rates retention arrangements introduced last month Waveney can keep a proportion of business rates it collects locally to pay for services.

Mr Broadley, who is keen on martial arts, told the Journal he could not afford to pay business rates, which he said were £3,800 a month.

He said he felt unsupported by the council as he tried to run gym facilities for the south Lowestoft area.

Mr Broadley added: 'Personally I feel I have been picked on. I feel I have been criminalised.'

Proceedings were issued against the Broadleys under section 217 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

In going to court to seek a bankruptcy order Waveney had sought the advice of insolvency and commercial litigation specialists Isadore Goldman, which has an office in Norwich, over the matter.

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