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Businessman 'priced out of Taunton' over council rates
A BUSINESSMAN says he is the latest independent shop forced out of Taunton by “astronomical” overheads – after serving the town for 16 years.
Phil Snell has closed his showroom selling kitchens and appliances in Bridge Street and relocated to Blackdown Garden Centre on the outskirts of Wellington.
He said: “It’s a positive for us as we’ll now be serving Wellington as well as Taunton, but it’s a negative for Taunton.
“We moved out because our rates were so high and a charity shop has now moved in – and they won’t pay such high rates as we were paying.
“We’re lucky to have found Blackdown Garden Centre but, because of the high rates, there are few independents left in the centre of Taunton.”
His wife, Debbi, said Razer, which had been in the county town for 16 years, faced an annual rates bill of £12,000 on top of rent of several thousand pounds.
She added: “The council wouldn’t do anything to help, although the landlord was understanding.
“But the overheads were eating away at the profits.
“It’s short-sighted because there are quite a few empty shops in town, which makes it look dead and sad.
“Phil used to employ two staff but he had to dismiss them to save money and he now works seven days a week to cover the work they were doing.”
A Taunton Deane Council spokeswoman said rates were set by central government using figures supplied by the Valuations Office.
The council collects the rates on behalf of the Government, which then redistributes them.
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