'It's a community facility': Royston amateur boxing club owners summoned to court for refusing to pay business levy
PUBLISHED: 12:02 11 February 2016
The owners of a boxing club in Royston are refusing to pay a business levy in the town, as they believe they are offering a service for the community and do not make a profit.
Dave Blows, who runs Royston Amateur Boxing Club with the help of Billy Crotty, is due to appear before magistrates next week over unpaid Business Improvement District contributions.
The club was set up about two years ago in an industrial unit in Lower Gower Road.
Billy said: “It’s a bit of a struggle to make the rent. The BID says I owe a levy, but it isn’t a business. We are delivering a service.
“We have to get quite a large number of people through the door to pay the rent as we have to supply boxing bags and organise shows. We don’t ask for anything from the BID.
“We don’t get grants. The landlord is good to us but we have to pay £1,000 a month to keep the place going.”
Billy, who comes from a family of boxers, says that amenities such as the club are important for a town which lacks facilities for young people.
He said: “There is now so little in the town, we have lost a swimming pool and cinema. There’s not enough here for my children.”
Dave added: “I’ve been training people for 37 years – I’ve trained 20 to 30 national champs. Any money we get goes back into the gym. Sometimes the kids say: ‘I can’t afford it this week, can I pay later?’
“The letters from the council make it sound like we are a profit-making business.
“We offer a service to the community. It gives young people something constructive to do.
“I’ve put a lot into the town, and never had any help. We aren’t making any money out of it.”
Councillor Terry Hone, responsible for finance at North Herts District Council, said: “The Royston BID District was voted for by the businesses occupying premises in the BID area in early 2014.
“The BID levy for Royston is 1.75 per cent of the rateable value and the council has an obligation to collect the levy on behalf of the BID company from all businesses liable to pay it.”