Revaluation could spell doom for central Hatfield businesses

Best-One shop owner Haris Sabir outside his shop in Market Place.

Best-One shop owner Haris Sabir outside his shop in Market Place. - Credit: Archant

A shake-up of business rates is about to hit hard in central Hatfield, where several traders fear they will be forced to close for good.

Mehmet Taycur of Jenny's restauran.t

Mehmet Taycur of Jenny's restauran.t - Credit: Archant

Although some businesses will get substantial reductions from the national revaluation taking effect in April, many Market Place shops face sharp rises.

Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce chairman Nick Brown, who has analysed official Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data, said: “Of the 30 properties in Market Place, 11 will receive no increase, and 19 will receive enormous increases. Those 19 will, over a five-year lease, pay just short of an extra three-quarters of a million pounds (combined). In which sense is that right? Businesses will fail as a result.”

Gift Nwachukwu, owner of Gift Hair collection, said her rateable value would increase from about £4,500 to over £17,000, pushing her rates from about £180 a year to about £6,000.

She said: “They (the Government) say they are helping small businesses, but I can’t see it. We are not going to be able pay - I don’t think that is possible.

Gift Nwachukwu of Gift Hair Collection

Gift Nwachukwu of Gift Hair Collection - Credit: Archant

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“My customers are asking me not to close but I don’t have a choice. We started in November 2014 -now that seems like a mistake.”

Harris Sabir of the Best-One store said: “From what I understand, we did not pay anything before, but now we will have to pay three grand a year. We were exempt, but this takes us over the threshold (for small business rate relief), although we won’t know for sure until April.”

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His father, who runs the business, is already looking another location elsewhere.

Samantha Mui of the Rainbow Noodle Bar has been told by the VOA that her rateable value will rise from £6,300 to £18,250.

She said: “I am angry about this. I will appeal, but if it really goes up that much I will go bankrupt. I can’t make that much money.”

Mehmet Taycur, owner of Jenny’s Restaurant, has calculated his bill is likely to rise to about £8,800 a year.

He said: “I can’t afford to pay that. We are going to appeal, but [if unsuccessful] we will have to close down. We have been here eight years, but now I don’t know what I am going to do.”

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