Felixstowe: MP will support traders after business rates hike

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey today demanded answers over why town centre traders in Felixstowe are facing crippling rises in their rate demands.

Some business owners fear the increases – between 15 per cent and 100pc – could drive them out of business.

Dr Coffey met with traders over the issue on Tuesday evening and told them she was trying to arrange a meeting with the valuation office to sort the problem out.

She also asked them to send her details on how the rate rises would impact their businesses.

She said: “I have written to the Valuation Office asking for an explanation and am seeking a meeting with them to try and sort this out.”

Traders on Hamilton Road are facing rises of between 15 per cent and 100pc in business rates which are also being backdated to last year.

After businesses on Hamilton Road asked for a temporary cut in rates, due to the work on shared space, valuation officers discovered the businesses were not paying enough which has led to the rate rise and backdating.

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Dr Coffey said: “I want to know why they made such a mistake – this was supposed to be done properly and it has not been which is unacceptable.”

Chairman of the chamber of trade and commerce, Andrew Rowdon, believes there is still time to fight the rise.

He said: “I think it (the meeting) was very constructive. The rates are going up but it’s the backdating which is the biggest blow because it’s not in anyone’s business plan.

“We have got time to do something about it as long as we have a concerted response.

“The chamber would like to offer the traders the place to do that.”

Mayor of Felixstowe, Doreen Savage, said: “I know my habits have changed and people don’t have as much money any more.

“I still think Hamilton Road is vibrant.”

What do you think about the rise in business rates? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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