District Council proposes pilot scheme to reduce town centre vacancy rates
|Author: Nikki Godwin||Published: 3rd February 2017 10:36|
Efforts to reduce vacant town centre properties and boost economic growth within the district are now one step closer to fruition, following a meeting of South Northamptonshire Council’s (SNC) Budget and Financial Strategy Committee.
On Wednesday, 1 February 2017, members of SNC considered a report outlining proposals to award business rates incentives to bring back into use empty properties in Brackley and Towcester town centres.
The report proposes a two-year pilot scheme to support both town centres and their existing businesses by offering a Business Rates Incentive Scheme, focused on ensuring properties which become vacant are brought back into use as soon as possible.
Cllr Stephen Clarke, SNC’s portfolio holder for economic development, regeneration and housing, said: “SNC is committed to ensuring that Brackley and Towcester retain their economic vitality and diversity.
“The aim of the scheme is to help reduce empty properties, to increase the diversity of the town centre and offer an incentive for new or expanding businesses looking to locate in either Brackley or Towcester.”
Business Rates, known formally as National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), are a form of tax payable by owners and occupiers of commercial properties in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1988.
Until April 2013, Business Rates were collected by SNC and passed to central government who redistributed them nationally. However, with the localisation of Business Rates, this income now directly impacts the council’s financial position.
In addition to these changes, billing authorities can now reduce the business rates of any local ratepayer under a local discount or incentive scheme.
It is to be recommended to Cabinet on Monday, 13 February that the pilot scheme will provide an incentive of 50 per cent business rates relief for up to two years to new businesses occupying vacant premises within designated areas. It is proposed that the schemes will come into effect from 1 April 2017 and end on 31 March 2019 and the properties must have been vacant for at least six months.
The scheme will be open to all businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 to £50,000, except those which are specifically excluded in the accompanying eligibility criteria.
For further information, please contact Geni Hotchkiss, Business Support Unit Manager, on 01327 322170 or email@example.com