Rasen trader says she is ‘gutted’ to be closing underwear shop

Bridget Pitman Brand EMN-160809-121151001
Bridget Pitman Brand EMN-160809-121151001

A Market Rasen trader says she is ‘gutted’ to be closing one of her town centre shops - all over a Government business rates rule that would have cost her £4,000.

Bridget Pitman Brand has announced the closure of her Queen Street shop Undies and Overs after failing to reach an agreement with the council.

A closing down sale is now under way and the shop is expected to close its doors for the final time at the end of November.

Ms Pitman Brand has been forced to make the decision after business rates rules mean she no longer qualifies for reductions if she has two shops in the town.

The trader, who also owns Market Rasen Pet Centre in Queen Street, had been facing a £4,000 bill - but will now pay nothing with just one shop in town.

She said: “I’m gutted, but that’s life, you’ve got to get on with it and deal with it.

“It’s a shame, but hey ho that’s the way life is.”

Undies and Overs opened in February last year and up until now Ms Pitman Brand has qualified for free business rates on her pet shop and a low monthly rate of £32 on the underwear store.

But from next year she is no longer entitled to the low rate at Undies and Overs - and had been facing paying full rates on both shops.

But because Undies and Overs is closing, Ms Pitman Brand’s free rates at the Pet Centre will be reinstated.

West Lindsey District Council leader Jeff Summers said: “The small business rates legislation is quite specific and there is no discretion for the local authorities to change this.

“The businesses in question have received support, however.

“West Lindsey District Council is always open to talk to businesses and offer advice where we can.”

A customer can have small business rates if they occupy only one property in the whole of England as long as the rateable value is under £12,000.

If a customer takes on a second property, criteria apply.

They can in most cases retain the small business rate relief on their first property for a period of 12 months.

The scheme is a national scheme and is legislative without any discretion for the local authority.

Traders have also been able to access retail relief for a period of two years in 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.