Gwent AM calls for rate relief for Newport businesses

South Wales Argus: CALL: Tory AM Mohammad Asghar CALL: Tory AM Mohammad Asghar

A GWENT AM has called for business rate relief for firms affected by redevelopment work in Newport city centre.

Tory AM Mohammad Asghar’s call comes after year long efforts by the Newport Chamber of Trade for some kind of rate relief for businesses in the city centre.

Demolition work in the city centre started at the end of October, and it is hoped that the construction on the Friars Walk complex will start in 2014 after the agreement of a £90 million council loan deal.

As a result John Frost Square and part of Newport Bus Station have been fenced off, while bus routes have been moved around the city centre.

Mr Asghar said: “The proposed re-development of Newport City Centre is greatly welcome and will benefit businesses in the long term.

“However, the current demolition work has caused major disruption to pedestrian access, and bus stops have been moved thereby reducing the number of shoppers in the city.

“I am calling on the Welsh Government to support the Chamber of Trade in their efforts to get business rates reduced for city centre traders adversely affected by this re-development work.”

Although they are collected by local authorities, business rates are not controlled by councils and are set by Welsh Government, although Valuation Office Agency sets what businesses pay.

Alan Edwards, president of the Newport Chamber of Trade, welcomed Mr Asghar’s suggestion, and said he had been calling for the move for 12 months and has been in touch with local AMs.

He says he has been told there would need to be a meaningful change in circumstances for businesses to appeal to the valuation office for a reduction, and has to be done on a case by case basis.

Mr Asghar raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions yesterday. The first minister, Carwyn Jones, said they were matters for him (Mr Asghar) to discuss with the City Council in Newport.

Demolition work in the city centre will see the Capitol car park, shop units in John Frost Square and Newport bus station removed.

It is hoped that work will start on Friars Walk next year with the centre completed by November 2015 in time for Debenhams’ intended opening dates of Christmas 2015 or Spring 2016.

Comments (4)

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12:37pm Wed 4 Dec 13

welshmen says...

Didn't he jump ship a while back, left Plaid Cymru for the Conservative Party, apparently the Conservatives would pay for his Daughter to work as his PA Plaid wouldn't, so in my opinion if Labour had offered more money than the Conservatives then he would now be very much not complaining....
Didn't he jump ship a while back, left Plaid Cymru for the Conservative Party, apparently the Conservatives would pay for his Daughter to work as his PA Plaid wouldn't, so in my opinion if Labour had offered more money than the Conservatives then he would now be very much not complaining.... welshmen

1:10pm Wed 4 Dec 13

bodlondon says...

I have no respect or time for this idiot
I have no respect or time for this idiot bodlondon

1:17pm Wed 4 Dec 13

p stani says...

Me neither waste of space.
Me neither waste of space. p stani

4:26pm Thu 5 Dec 13

BassalegCountyFan says...

Mr Asghar's behaviour over the last few years has been so lacking in respect for the general public that it's hard to take anything he says seriously.
I'm a Labour voter so don't really have an interest in Plaid Cymru's workings, but I felt that the people who voted Plaid were basically shafted by this man - he was elected as a regional list party candidate and then didn't give up his seat after changing parties. He has never apologized for this to my knowledge.

It seems to say a lot for the standards of the welsh tories that he was near the top of their regional list last time around. Just like his colleague William Graham, most of his comments to the media seem to be non-comments, i.e. 'investing in infrastructure is good', 'these roadwork delays on the m4 are a bad thing'. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if next week we were told that Mr Asghar or William Graham made a statement that regular toothbrushing prevents the development of plaque, or that the fact that heavy rainfall was bad for Welsh businesses (although they would probably turn it into a standard dig at Newport or the Welsh Assembly).
Mr Asghar's behaviour over the last few years has been so lacking in respect for the general public that it's hard to take anything he says seriously. I'm a Labour voter so don't really have an interest in Plaid Cymru's workings, but I felt that the people who voted Plaid were basically shafted by this man - he was elected as a regional list party candidate and then didn't give up his seat after changing parties. He has never apologized for this to my knowledge. It seems to say a lot for the standards of the welsh tories that he was near the top of their regional list last time around. Just like his colleague William Graham, most of his comments to the media seem to be non-comments, i.e. 'investing in infrastructure is good', 'these roadwork delays on the m4 are a bad thing'. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if next week we were told that Mr Asghar or William Graham made a statement that regular toothbrushing prevents the development of plaque, or that the fact that heavy rainfall was bad for Welsh businesses (although they would probably turn it into a standard dig at Newport or the Welsh Assembly). BassalegCountyFan

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