Blaenau Gwent traders hit back over pavement tax

Ebbw Vale shop owners (l-r) Al Cartwright, Patricia Pitts, Remo Basini, Phillip Edwards and Phil Greenway

Ebbw Vale shop owners (l-r) Al Cartwright, Patricia Pitts, Remo Basini, Phillip Edwards and Phil Greenway

First published in News

BUSINESS owners who believe they are being unfairly hit by council cuts are fighting back with a petition against a new pavement tax.

Traders from across Blaenau Gwent say they pay some of the highest business rates in Wales already, while struggling to keep their shops and cafes open.

Now, with the council introducing an additional charge for them to have boards, placards, tables and chairs outside costing up to £250, many business owners say enough is enough.

Phillip Edwards, chairman of Ebbw Vale Business Forum, said: “On the one hand they are saying they need to save money as part of these £10 million cuts, on the other they are saying they are introducing this for the poorly sighted.

“But they are the ones who have strewn large stainless steel balls all over the borough – surely they are more of a risk than a table.The more charges they place on retailers, the less likely it is some of these shops will survive.

“Millions of pounds, some unwisely, have been spent on our towns and it will all be to no avail if the council keep insisting on fleecing businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.”

Samantha Lewis has owned the Crossing Cafe in Ebbw Vale for 18 years.

She said: “Visitors to the town like to be able to sit down outside when it’s sunny to enjoy their food. It looks good and encourages footfall.

“Between this charge and the fact a lot of our regular customers have stopped coming to the town since they closed the toilets, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay open. I already pay £310 a month in business rates – an extortionate amount. Why can’t they take this charge out of that? It’s just one thing after another with this council.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The charges have not been finalised, but represent a small annual administrative charge to ensure compliance with the highway legislation.

“Tables and chairs, shop front displays and ‘A-boards’ have been placed onto the highway with little or no regulation previously. The council must consider the needs of blind and partially-sighted people with regards to clutter on footways in our town centres.

“The charges will be annual and will only reflect the cost of the authority administering the function, they are not to generate a profit.”

Comments (7)

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11:45pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Abertillery29 says...

The council must consider the needs of blind and partially sighted persons - mainly the councillors.
The council must consider the needs of blind and partially sighted persons - mainly the councillors. Abertillery29
  • Score: 7

6:33am Fri 11 Apr 14

cath 872 says...

What a cheek! I live in Newport but was in Ebbw Vale last week. The towns only public toilets are closed. This has to have an effect on people who access the town, i.e.., would you shop in a town with no toilets? The local council should worry about providing necessary amenities before considering penalising local traders further. I bet they have staff toilets at the town hall.
What a cheek! I live in Newport but was in Ebbw Vale last week. The towns only public toilets are closed. This has to have an effect on people who access the town, i.e.., would you shop in a town with no toilets? The local council should worry about providing necessary amenities before considering penalising local traders further. I bet they have staff toilets at the town hall. cath 872
  • Score: 8

9:27am Fri 11 Apr 14

www.butlerselectrical.com says...

How exactly is fleecing even more money out of the traders going to help partially sighted people? The two don't correlate.
www.butlerselectrica
l.com
How exactly is fleecing even more money out of the traders going to help partially sighted people? The two don't correlate. www.butlerselectrica l.com www.butlerselectrical.com
  • Score: 4

9:58am Fri 11 Apr 14

sjkuk02 says...

my dad is blind and i went on a course with him many years ago to help him walk on the highway ( pavement ) it is a pain for all these a frames,tables and chairs every where for the blind . he have stopped going out on his own now because there is more and more going up all the time, and there is many people out there putting in claims for blocking the highways ( pavement ). we don't blame the shops for this they got too advertise there shops to get more people in so they can stay open to pay the high rates.
my dad is blind and i went on a course with him many years ago to help him walk on the highway ( pavement ) it is a pain for all these a frames,tables and chairs every where for the blind . he have stopped going out on his own now because there is more and more going up all the time, and there is many people out there putting in claims for blocking the highways ( pavement ). we don't blame the shops for this they got too advertise there shops to get more people in so they can stay open to pay the high rates. sjkuk02
  • Score: 0

9:59am Fri 11 Apr 14

Llanmartinangel says...

www.butlerselectrica
l.com
wrote:
How exactly is fleecing even more money out of the traders going to help partially sighted people? The two don't correlate.
www.butlerselectrica

l.com
It's a Labour council. Putting up taxes is the only language they understand. Didn't you learn anything under Gordon Brown? You can label it whatever you like: Global warming, helping partially sighted people, and the euphemisms like (stamp/fuel) 'duty' (road fund) 'licence' (green) 'levy', (national) 'insurance'. The end result is the same, you get taxed more. Socialists are out to screw anyone who makes their own living
[quote][p][bold]www.butlerselectrica l.com[/bold] wrote: How exactly is fleecing even more money out of the traders going to help partially sighted people? The two don't correlate. www.butlerselectrica l.com[/p][/quote]It's a Labour council. Putting up taxes is the only language they understand. Didn't you learn anything under Gordon Brown? You can label it whatever you like: Global warming, helping partially sighted people, and the euphemisms like (stamp/fuel) 'duty' (road fund) 'licence' (green) 'levy', (national) 'insurance'. The end result is the same, you get taxed more. Socialists are out to screw anyone who makes their own living Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 6

6:29pm Fri 11 Apr 14

bugsy93 says...

Traders should keep their equipment within the confines of their property.
Pavements are for pedestrians and not clutter from businesses.Residents in some authorities are fined for leaving their rubbish bins on the pavements too long.
In Torfaen some pavements are completely blocked with cars and vans from motor traders , pushchair and wheelchair users have to negotiate onto the main road to pass these obstructions.
If not controlled, this pavement clutter will get out hand and Councils could be held liable for compensation claims by accidents that occur due to these pavement hazards.
Traders should keep their equipment within the confines of their property. Pavements are for pedestrians and not clutter from businesses.Residents in some authorities are fined for leaving their rubbish bins on the pavements too long. In Torfaen some pavements are completely blocked with cars and vans from motor traders , pushchair and wheelchair users have to negotiate onto the main road to pass these obstructions. If not controlled, this pavement clutter will get out hand and Councils could be held liable for compensation claims by accidents that occur due to these pavement hazards. bugsy93
  • Score: -2

1:12pm Sat 12 Apr 14

sweetshop61 says...

I am a shop owner in the town, and my answer to it is to remove the advertising board. This council lives in cloud cuckoo land.
I am a shop owner in the town, and my answer to it is to remove the advertising board. This council lives in cloud cuckoo land. sweetshop61
  • Score: 0

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