Businesses in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge are joining forces to protest about a possible doubling in rate bills next year.
Revaluations of business properties in the area carried out by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), on behalf of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), have left about 45 per cent of businesses facing a “significant increase”.
The claim was made by David Wilson, partner with Geoffrey Collings Estate Agents in Long Sutton, who is coordinating the response to the potential rise from businesses in the town and Sutton Bridge.
Mr Wilson said: “Around 45 per cent of businesses in Long Sutton town centre will be faced with a significant increase in their business rates over the coming years, along with several businesses in Sutton Bridge.
“Unless the VOA can be persuaded to take a fresh look at its proposal to almost double the rateable values of many of the businesses premises in Long Sutton, the viability and vitality of the town centre could be compromised.”
Elaine Tunnard of Sheila Tiller Fashions, also in Long Sutton, said: “Our rates will be nearly doubling for the businesses that are eligible to pay them.
It is illogical that a small town should have such an incredible rise, whilst others around here with much larger footfall, and many more shops, remain the sameElaine Tunnard, Sheila Tiller Fashions, Long Sutton
“Fortunately, this only applies to shops that generally have larger floor space as all shops under the rateable value of £120,000 per annum are exempt from charges.
“But it is illogical that a small town should have such an incredible rise, whilst others around here with much larger footfall, and many more shops, remain the same.
“So much for protecting the British High Street.”
A HMRC spokesman said: “Rateable values are based on an open market rental value for a fixed date and are used by councils to calculate business rates bills.
“We use a wide range of information to set the rateable value and if someone believes the details we hold are incorrect they can contact us.”