Over £70k write-off after wine bar collapse
Norwich City Council has agreed to write-off more than £70,000 worth of business rates for a wine bar that traded for just four months.
The Italian wine bar Veeno opened in Norwich's Castle Quarter in September 2018, as part of the £3m development of the shopping centre's terrace area.
Within four months of trading, signs appeared in the windows saying it temporarily closed. It never reopened.
In a report to councillors, officers stated a mistake meant the business rate account payable to the council was originally closed following "incorrect information being provided to us that the owner had accepted surrender of the lease for the premises".
The Labour-run city council was later told the lease did not end until September 2020.
At a meeting of Norwich City Council’s cabinet, Paul Kendrick asked his colleagues to approve the write-off.
He said: “Sometimes we reluctantly come to a situation where we cannot collect debts and we have to write them off.
“This, I can assure people, is only done after an exhaustive process. Sometimes when a company goes into bankruptcy it is not possible to actually recover these debts.
He added: “I would just ask this committee to agree this write-off on this particular occasion.”
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Annabel Scholes, interim director of resources at the council, echoed Mr Kendrick’s comments, adding: “This is a particular situation where the company doesn’t actually exist anymore and unfortunately, we can’t do anything about that.”
Norwich City Council’s cabinet councillors unanimously agreed to write-off a debt totalling £71,830.70.
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Business rates, also known as national non-domestic rates, are a tax on properties which are used for business purposes, such as shops, pubs, offices and warehouses.
Half of the sum collected in the city goes to central government, 40pc to Norwich City Council and 10pc to Norfolk County Council.
In the year up to December 17 last year, Norwich City Council had written off more than £660,000 in business rates.