Lo­cals fight to save pub hit by shock rates rise

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

ACOMMUNITY is ral­ly­ing to save a pub af­ter busi­ness rates nearly DOU­BLED.

The Robin Hood is the last pub in Rainow and is hailed as a vi­tal com­mu­nity hub where res­i­dents reg­u­larly meet to so­cialise and dis­cuss com­mu­nity mat­ters.

But it is at risk of clos­ing af­ter a sharp in­crease in busi­ness rates – ris­ing from £5,300 to a whop­ping £9,000 a year.

Land­lords Robert and Suzanne Price – who al­ready sup­ple­ment their in­come with another job – say they sim­ply can’t af­ford this hike and went to the par­ish coun­cil to ask for help.

Now a com­mu­nity group has been launched to save the pub.

The group is sign­ing up vol­un­teers to pull pints be­hind the bar and is look­ing for cash dona­tions to keep the pub go­ing.

Suzanne, 49, who has a son James and daugh­ter Samantha, said: “The busi­ness rates rise is killing the pub. Our rates are based on our turnover.

“We have a good turnover, but not a good profit be­cause our over­heads are ex­pen­sive. It’s ter­ri­ble for lo­cal pubs like ours.

“We could walk away but we want to keep the pub go­ing for the vil­lage, but we can’t do that with­out help.

“We don’t take a profit from the pub our­selves, Robert works another job in cus­tomer ser­vice at Wickes to pay our bills. We do it be­cause we live in the vil­lage and don’t want the pub to close.”

Suzanne and Robert pay busi­ness rates to the coun­cil each year. It’s a tax on com­mer­cial prop­er­ties based on the ‘rate­able value’ of the prop­erty, but with pubs this is based on turnover.

Rates are in­creas­ing be­cause the gov­ern­ment has car­ried out a re­view of rate­able val­ues. The cou­ple will re­ceive a small re­duc­tion for the first year, but will be ex­pected to find £9,000 on top of what they earn.

When the par­ish coun­cil heard about the prob­lem, Coun Ken But­ler, 78, held a pub­lic meet­ing, with 140 peo­ple at­tend­ing. The Robin Hood Com­mu­nity Group was set up and hopes to run the pub as a Com­mu­nity In­ter­est Com­pany in fu­ture.

Ken, who has lived in Rainow for 27 years, said: “Suzanne and Robert were just about keep­ing their heads above wa­ter but the rates in­crease is the fi­nal straw. For vil­lages like ours the pub is the so­cial hub and we’ve only got the Robin Hood left.

“Suzanne and Robert are do­ing a great job, the pub is re­ally pop­u­lar with lo­cals. It would be a great loss to the vil­lage.”

Suzanne and Robert Price are land­lords at the only pub in Rainow, the Robin Hood, which is un­der threat af­ter a mas­sive hike in busi­ness rates

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