Rates revaluation blamed for Grantham restaurant closure
The co-owner of the former New Era restaurant in
Grantham has blamed the closure of his business on an unexpected increase in
Deependra Khati, who owned the business in Westgate with Geeta Gest, said the move followed a rates revaluation.
Previously, the rateable value of the property had been £11,500 but that had increased to £41,000.
The business had been classed as a small business, which meant there were no business rates to pay, but the revaluation meant this no longer applied and the rates bill was now £19,000 a year.
Even worse, was the higher rates applied since 2015.
Mr Khati said: “That was more than our rent. It was no longer feasible for us to carry on. There is plenty of competition in Grantham. If we had known this was coming we would not have opened the restaurant in the first place.
“We were a small restaurant. We tried to reason with the rates valuation officer but an appeal takes too long. The property is not even on the high street.”
The rates demand has left them tens of thousands in debt. Mr Khati continued: “This was the last blow. We can’t take any more.”
However, he did say he hoped to start another business eventually.
Paul Gray, director of Bickford Ltd, a Grantham-based property developer, confirmed the New Era restaurant had “gone for good.”
But he said South Kesteven District Council has been “very fair” over the issue.
Mr Gray said the site has now been let out to an Italian family from Nottingham who have other restaurants.
Renovations were being carried out, including making the premises smaller, so it would be classed as a small business to “resolve the rates issue.”
He added he has given the new tenants two months
free rent to help them get it ready.
SKDC Cabinet Member for Finance, Coun Adam Stokes, said: “South Kesteven District Council does not set business rates and is only responsible for their collection.
“We work with businesses and landlords to try to find amicable solutions and we have advised ratepayers to submit appeals to the Valuation Office.
“We always try to work with the ratepayer in order to find a solution, but ultimately the business must decide whether it is financially viable to continue.”