Call for rates to be made manageable

A Sudbury businessman fed up with paying expensive business rates has launched a petition in an attempt to ease costs for shops in the area.

David Thompson, who runs three businesses in Gainsborough Street, including The Salt House Bistro, says he is tired of seeing small independent shops struggling against unreasonably high rates.

He wants people who own and run shops to join together to give themselves a better chance of survival in a tough economic climate.

“There are lots of businesses which need help and I am going to go on a crusade asking the town for support,” said Mr Thompson, who has run the Movie Shop for three decades.

“I will have petition forms printed up by the end of this week to try to get as many people as possible behind lowering business rates and making them more manageable.”

Mr Thompson, who met South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo earlier this month to air his concerns and has held talks with the town’s Chamber of Commerce, said he would use his bistro as a meeting place for discussions.

“I am going to go around every independent retailer in the town because this is something that needs to be done and I want lots of people to come on board,” he said.

“It’s about caring for the town and wanting to see it grow again.”

A number of businesspeople have recently hit out at high business rates, and have blamed the costs – which are assessed on a valuation of a shop’s annual rental value – on various closures.

Mr Yeo has indicated he is willing for a discussion involving businesses from the area to take place and believes the more people who present a case the better.

A meeting chaired by Mr Yeo is due to be held at the town hall in April. Independent shopkeepers in Long Melford are also expected to be invited.