Business rates in Alnwick are cheaper than in other market towns in Northumberland, the Gazette has discovered.
Last week, we reported that concerns had been raised about the high rates charged for shop premises in the town.
But after looking at the rates in Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth, it has been found that Alnwick isn’t more expensive.
Business rates are not set by Northumberland County Council, but they are collected by the authority and calculated based on amounts set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and the Government.
The VOA decides on the rateable value of properties by assessing a premises and looking at the rental value of that property in terms of location, frontage, size, facilities, and footfall among other factors.
The council then uses a multiplier set by the Government, with a set price for standard (47.1p) and small businesses (46.2p).
Using this calculation, the Gazette found that shops on Bondgate Without in Alnwick paid less in rates than those on Bridge Street/Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth, Marygate in Berwick and Fore Street in Hexham – all main areas of shopping in the respective towns.
A 574.3m2 shop in Alnwick was given a rateable value of £53,000 and using the multiplier, this equated to £24,963 in business rates.
In Hexham, a 558.8m2 shop was £89,000, which would mean rates of £41,919.
In Berwick, a 270.7m2 property had a rateable value of £35,500, being charged £16,720 in rates compared to a 232.3m2 shop in Alnwick at £32,000 and £15,072 in rates. And in Morpeth a 266.99m2 shop was valued at £41,000 with £19,311 to be charged in rates.
A VOA spokesman said: “The VOA sets the rateable value and treats all businesses equally, ensuring they pay their fair share of the overall business-rates bill.”