A RESTAURATEUR in Stratford-upon-avon believes he’s entitled to a huge reduction in business rates because of loss of trade caused by scaffolding all around him.
Massimo Bertoli, who runs the Caffe Vineria restaurant in Wood Street, told the Herald yesterday that his takings were down from £14,000 in August 2015 to £7,000 in the same month this year.
Several buildings have recently had scaffolding erected as a result of refurbishment work – including Barclays Bank at Market Cross – and Mr Bertoli says this has had a severe impact on his business.
He said: “There’s been scaffolding by my building for nearly five months. And in September they’ll be closing Wood Street.”
Mr Bertoli thinks that the impending closure of Wood Street to motor vehicles will simply add to his woes.
The closure – which will take effect from 7pm on 5th September to 6am each and every day for two weeks – is required so that a new sewer drain can be installed.
The restaurateur has had to reduce his part-time staff of waitresses because of the effect of the surrounding structural work on his trade.
He said that more than half of his custom came from passers by.
Mr Bertoli said he had written to Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi about his problems, as well as to Stratford District Council and Stratforward, which represents traders in the town.
“Mr Zahawi said he was ‘sorry’, but what I’m looking for is a reduction in the business rates,” he said.
“I’m paying £1,300 a month in business rates and £100 a month in council tax because I also live above the restaurant.”
A spokeswoman for Stratford District Council told the Herald: “The district council has already responded direct to Mr Bertoli on this matter setting out the options available to him.
“He has been advised to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to see whether he can get a reduction in the rateable value of the property and evidence, such as financial information, will need to be provided.
“He has also been offered other options – to apply to the district council for hardship rate relief which is a ‘one-off’ payment but also relies upon providing financial information to show the impact of the disturbance and to have his rate payments extended to the end of March instead of January to reduce monthly liability.”
Barclays Bank’s community banking director for Warwickshire, Richard Stockland, said: “The works that are currently being carried out are essential to maintain this listed building, which is in a prominent position in the town centre. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”