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'Rate cuts don't go far enough'
11:00am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Business
SHOPKEEPERS in Abingdon’s precinct say a cut in business rates may not be enough to help them to survive redevelopment work.
Traders in the Abbey Shopping Centre have been offered a five per cent reduction while work on a £4m revamp takes place.
Last month store owners told the Oxford Mail that scaffolding and hoarding was deterring shoppers and if they were not given rates reductions they may close before work finished in the autumn.
Ian Collett, owner of The Bookstore, pictured, said the cut offered by Government would still not be enough as his takings had fallen by 50 per cent last month.
He said: “It’s awful. I’m working in the middle of a building site at the moment. Because it’s all boarded in and so narrow people aren’t looking left or right anymore they are just looking straight ahead.”
Abingdon Chamber of Commerce member Peter Wiblin, who owns Abingdon News Plus in the precinct, said he would settle for a 10 per cent reduction.
He said: “Some traders’ turnover has been affected by up to 20 per cent. This is the difference between making a profit and making a loss.”
Martin Hughes, spokesman for NewRiver, who manage the precinct on behalf of owners Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, said it was hoping to secure further rates discounts.