Furious Peterborough café bar owner blames council after business rates '˜shock'

The furious owner of a city centre café bar is blaming Peterborough City Council for business rates of £13,500 more than she was expecting in her first year.

Thursday, 30th August 2018, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:17 pm
Eve and Matt Warner outside The Lightbox EMN-180823-200526009

Eve Warner from Glinton realised a lifelong dream by opening The Lightbox in Bridge Street last September on a five year lease.

But the dream has become a “soul destroying” experience for the former PA who is paying rates more than double the £1,500 amount the Government’s website suggested she would be paying.

This is because, unbeknown to Mrs Warner and husband Matt, a few months before signing the lease the rates at the property had been slashed, but the change takes place gradually over five years so they started receiving monthly bills of £3,330, which have since reduced to £2,400.

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Mrs Warner, who has formally complained to the council, is upset because she had phoned its business rates team before signing the lease to check the £1,500 figure, and she claims there was no suggestion a transitional charge would be added to her bill.

She added: “Had we been given that information before we signed the lease we would have known it was not an affordable option.

“It’s now nigh on impossible for me to make ends meet each month. If the business goes under that’s 10 jobs gone and another empty property.”

The council’s business rates team does not record phone calls so has no record of the conversation. A spokesman said the authority has no say over how business rates are calculated, adding: “We are committed to supporting local businesses and our officers would be happy to discuss support options available with any organisation struggling to pay their business rates.”