I am pleased to attach the Council papers you may want to open. You will see that from our COT Questionnaire in July and subsequent work with our MP David Tredinnick and the Government Minister Marcus Jones MP on Legislation we have succeeded in getting all of our requests for actions regarding the increasing numbers of charity shops in prime retail areas agreed by Full Council yesterday.
The HBBC have agreed the following:
1) At the present time HBBC does not allow charity shops in Castle St to claim the discretionary 20% rates paid. (by taxpayers) This will continue.
2) Upper Castle St, Regent St, Station Rd, Market Square and The Crescent will also join Castle St in NOT allowing the 20% discretionary rates paid for charity shops.
3) HBBC Officers will undertake regular formal inspections in the Town charity shops to identify if they meet and continue to meet the criteria for the Mandatory rates relief of 80% ( paid by tax payers) This will use the % of floor space utilised as the qualifying criteria for “wholly or mainly” ie more than half. (this referes to NEW goods sold)
4) Arrangements are in place for any challenges from the COT and will result in joint inspection with members of the COT.( we have many of you experienced retail experts) The same applies with the registration with the Charities Commission, we will work jointly with the Borough Council on Challenges the COT may have.
5) We are particularly pleased that our “Landlord incentive Period” has been taken up so that a longer time period before rates are due (although not open ended and not long enough it will be more flexible than at the present time) will encourage letting to an independent business rather than to a charity.