Tax cut for roadwork hit businesses

Published: Wednesday 29th September 10

More than 70 troubled businesses on Upper Richmond Road have been awarded a business rate reduction thanks to a council-led campaign.

Photo of Cllr Maurice Heaster and Cllr Ravi Govindia with local traders on the Upper Richmond RoadThe road's many small shops, cafes and restaurants have been suffering a severe drop in trade since Southern Gas began replacing a major gas main in early July. The work is expected to last until the end of October.

Such prolonged disruption is pushing some firms to the wall and the council has been lobbying the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to grant a temporary business rates discount to help them survive.

Last Friday, VOA officials agreed to reduce rateable values by ten per cent until the gas works are complete. The allowance will be backdated to July 6 when the disruption began.

Wandsworth Council's business rates spokesman Maurice Heaster said:

"This is very welcome news. These firms need all the help they can get as the recession and long-term road works stifle trade. We made a very strong case to the VOA and we're please they've taken these exceptionally difficult conditions into account.

"Residents can do their bit to help by making a special effort to use these excellent shops, cafes and restaurants. The support of the people of Putney will make all the difference over the coming weeks.

"The council and the Putney Partnership have installed new signs and are advertising the street on Putney's local website to let everyone know Upper Richmond Road is open for business.

"We're also keeping up the pressure on Southern Gas to get these works finished as quickly as possible."

Upper Richmond Road is home to an enticing blend of cafes, pubs and restaurants. Food lovers can sample cuisine from across the world including Mexican, Indian, Persian, English, Japanese and Thai.

There is also an eclectic mix of shops and boutiques including clothes and shoe shops, newsagents, chemists, a printer, dry cleaner, hairdressers and a spa.

Business rates are set by the VOA, not by local councils. Wandsworth is campaigning for these powers to be transferred to the town hall so the borough's business taxation can be closely linked to local trading conditions.

Councillors argue that controlling rates at local authority level would be more efficient and give the borough's employers the opportunity to benefit from Wandsworth Council's low taxation policies.

For a list of shops and restaurants on Upper Richmond Road see the advert on www.putneysw15.com

The picture shows Cllr Maurice Heaster and Cllr Ravi Govindia with local traders on the Upper Richmond Road.

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