Hatfield businesses hit hard by rates revaluation

PUBLISHED: 11:26 13 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:31 14 November 2016

Nick Brown

Nick Brown

Archant

Council chiefs are to blame for severe commercial rate demands that will soon be hitting central Hatfield, according to the leader of the borough's business community.

Although the overall effect of last year’s reassessment of 2,885 Welwyn Hatfield business properties will be neutral,

figures obtained by chamber of commerce chairman Nick Brown show a stark contrast across the borough.

While some Welwyn Garden City businesses will enjoy big reductions from April next year, several businesses and shops in central Hatfield will be hit hard, as their rateable values have been increased by around 200 per cent.

Business suffering the steepest increases include shops in Market Place, The Arcade, and Manor Parade.

Mr Brown, who worked with a leading property surveyor to obtain the figures from the Valuation Office Agency, blames the borough council, claiming the assessment reflects rent increases imposed on its business tenants.

He said: “In 2015, the chamber fought rent increases in Hatfield town centre.

“At the time, we said the reason was to increase business rates in 2017. Here is the evidence.

“We are going to fight this between now and April.”

He said smaller businesses would suffer proportionally the largest increases, and loss of rate relief could increase some monthly bills from £10 to £100.

A council spokeswoman responded: “The Valuation Office Agency sets rateable values for every commercial property in the country and we have no control over this.

“The rateable value partly influences the amount an organisation pays in business rates, but until we get further information from the Government about the other elements used to calculate business rates, we don’t yet know where increases and decreases will happen from April 2017.”

Businesses can learn how they will be affected, and whether they are likely to win appeals, by contacting the chamber of commerce online at https://www.welhatchamber.co.uk

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