Bridlington businesses back rate relief scheme

Petals King Street Bridlington.'Kerith McGougan happy at the reduction in the business rates.'NBFP PA1408-2a
Petals King Street Bridlington.'Kerith McGougan happy at the reduction in the business rates.'NBFP PA1408-2a

Businesses in Bridlington have welcomed East Riding Council’s plan to offer business rate relief in the town.

The council’s cabinet last week agreed to adopt a scheme to grant relief of up to £1,000 to all occupied retail properties in the area with a rateable value of £50,000 or less in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Kerith McGougan, who for the past decade has ran Petals florist on King Street alongside Julie Botterill, said: “That could mean the difference between a new business failing or succeeding. It is a huge help for any business.”

Her son Alex opened wool accessories shop In Stitches, also on King Street, in November last year, and Kerith believes the council help could be invaluable.

“Businesses have a hard time of things, everyone does. But it’s especially hard when you first start out. There isn’t a lot of money to pay yourself a wage, so if you’ve got help towards your business rates then it gives you the chance to keep going until you’re more established.

“It also helps businesses like ours as well. Our rates will go down, and our landlords the Lords Feoffees recently reduced rent to try and make things easier for businesses. It might encourage more new businesses, and Bridlington really needs that.”

Julie agrees: “Every penny counts. Until the tourist season starts again, King Street is like a ghost town. Anything that can ease the pressure of monthly bills is a huge help.”

The council has adopted the discretionary scheme, under which the government will pay the council fully for the business rate relief offered.

All sorts of businesses can benefit under the scheme – including shops, opticians, post offices, restaurants, cafes and pubs. It is thought that 4,000 companies across the East Riding could take advantage.

Coun Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities, said: “I am delighted that we are able to implement this scheme, which we estimate will offer much needed assistance to over 4,000 businesses across the area. I am also particularly pleased that we will be able to introduce it as early as April this year.”

Mairtin Coss runs Prospect Street art shop Atelier de Artiste which opened last year and stocks a whole range of art and crafting supplies, tapestry kits, soaps, lace making, candles - as well as hosting exhibitions and demonstrations in the shop’s gallery space.

He said: “It will be interesting to see how it works, but of course anything is very welcome. Especially at this time of year, business is very hard to come by and all firms struggle. But the relief of £1,000 could be very important in encouraging people to take that step to open a business.”

The relief will be automatically awarded to qualifying businesses, so that they will not need to complete an application form. Further information is available on the council’s website.