Shack rates shock

Kieron Morris with the letter from the council asking for business rates for old shack at the back o

Kieron Morris with the letter from the council asking for business rates for old shack at the back of his shop in milton road. - Credit: Archant

A SMALL business owner has been left feeling bemused after North Somerset Council has tried to charge him business rates for an ‘old worn-out shack’ to the rear of his shop - causing him a shed-load of hassle.

Keiron Morris has been running the fruit and vegetable shop in Milton Road for the past three years, and has never previously received a bill for the ramshackle building behind his business.

He said: “The butchers which was in this building before me was here for as long as I can remember, and as far as I’m aware it was never charged rates for it.”

The shack was once used as a cobblers, but has been out of action for years.

Mr Morris said: “It’s an old worn-out shack, it’s uninhabitable, you couldn’t use it for anything even if you tried.

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“It’s ridiculous, it is literally a load of old cobblers.

“The council are asking me to write them a letter proving that it’s not in use - personally I would have thought a photograph showing the state of it would be enough, it’s nothing more than an old shed now.

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“Once I’ve written a letter then someone will have to come and inspect it - it just seems like a waste of time and resources.”

Mr Morris qualifies for an exemption of his normal rates under the Government’s business rates relief scheme for small businesses, but he said it’s ‘not about the money’.

He continued: “It’s ridiculous they are suggesting someone could be using this as a business.

“The charge is only £78 for a yearly business rate, it’s not a lot, but it’s not about the money.

“It’s an old shack, it’s a mess in there, rats couldn’t survive in there let alone a business, it’s absolutely uninhabitable.”

A council spokesman said: “According to our records the site has been empty since 2013, and the person responsible previously qualified for an exemption from business rates.

“We became aware that the site was back in use, and having made some enquiries, sent a business rate notice.

“At the moment we are contacting the owner to discuss their concerns.”

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