Paying top whack' on empty shops

PUBLISHED: 11:47 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:39 11 May 2010

MANY thanks for the publishing my last letter, and, if appropriate, may I extend it further to the subsequent author s offering support for our collective plight in the town of Royston. At the risk of being a serial complainer I have to inform the wider

MANY thanks for the publishing my last letter, and, if appropriate, may I extend it further to the subsequent author's offering support for our collective plight in the town of Royston.

At the risk of being a serial complainer I have to inform the wider community of North Herts District Council's latest legislative change.

It is no secret that systematic damage has been done to the town centre retail community over ensuing years.

The result of which has left many shop proprietors struggling to make ends meet. New legislation has been proposed and unanimously approved and the district council has devised a combatitive measure to not assist with the situation for struggling local businesses, but to levy full rateable value against an empty shop.

This means landlords and shop freeholders will have to pay top whack rates, even if they are in possesion of an empty retail premises.

The message from this is: "We don't really care whether you are viable as a business or how tough things are in your retail community, you must pay us."

All the more painful when you consider it was the district council which rolled over when Tesco doubled in size a year ago and begun offering anything from a paper clip to a mortgage.

This measure benefits only one party - the district council. If ever there was a self-centered, legislative demand, this is it.

It does nothing to aid existing retail businesses in Royston. Surely the local council has over stepped the mark this time. Does it no longer care about our local community?

Offers to aid the failing town are tokenism at best, and now this demand exposes them for what they are; opportunists who operate autonomously from the communities that elect them in the first place.

Apparently, our elected representatives have now turned the tables on us and we are expected to pay for the legacy of ill-thought out plans.

I have to confess I do not know where this latest era of civic abuse will end, but it must be said that unless residents in our community take some kind of collective action, it will continue.

The most powerful constituent in any society is the masses, and the masses are no longer being served by the people who are supposed to do so.

NICK ADAMS

Kneesworth Street

Royston

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