Rates re­lief for eye­sores agreed by PKC

One year’s grace for busi­nesses

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Gardiner

An ini­tia­tive to of­fer a year’s busi­ness rates re­lief for any­one tak­ing on the ren­o­va­tion of a range of Perthshire eye­sores has been given the green light.

Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil’s strate­gic pol­icy and re­sources com­mit­tee unan­i­mously agreed to of­fer 100 per cent rates re­lief to in­vestors for the first 12 months of op­er­at­ing in any of 40 se­lected build­ings.

The list in­cludes many prom­i­nent lo­ca­tions in and around the heart of the Fair City, such as Harry’s Bar, St An­drews and St Stephens Church on Atholl Street, the for­mer Co-op build­ings on Scott Street, the Mae Ping restau­rant and for­mer Co-op Travel shop units on South Street and the for­mer Clachan and Qual­ity Cafe units.

Fur­ther­more, build­ings in Cri­eff, Blair­gowrie, Pit­lochry, Coupar An­gus, Er­rol and Bank­foot have also been in­cluded.

Coun­cil leader and com­mit­tee con­vener, Cllr Ian Camp­bell, is de­lighted to be of­fer­ing en­cour­age­ment to busi­nesses.

He told Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing: “In line with our com­mit­ment to sup­port and as­sist lo­cal busi­nesses where The Clachan

we can, this pro­posal fur­ther shows our com­mit­ment to grow­ing lo­cal busi­ness.

“This pro­posal en­cour­ages busi­ness own­ers, and in­deed po­ten­tial ten­ants, to grasp the op­por­tu­nity of set­ting up a new busi­ness with a year’s re­lief from busi­ness rates.”

This scheme builds on the Va­cant Prop­erty Ini­tia­tive which was put in place by the pre­vi­ous SNP-led coun­cil.

Cur­rent lo­cal SNP group leader, Cllr Dave Doogan, broadly sup­ported the plan to in­crease in­vest­ment in Perth and Kin­ross, but ques­tioned whether it was go­ing to be ef­fec­tive.

He asked: “I wel­come this proac­tive ap­proach to what is a chal­leng­ing is­sue, but are there peo­ple and busi­nesses look­ing to in­vest?”

A to­tal of £100,000 has been agreed to sup­port this project.

In­de­pen­dent High­land ward coun­cil­lor, Xan­der McDade, queried whether the al­lo­cated bud­get would be enough to sup­port the scheme.

Lo­cal author­ity of­fi­cials present con­firmed the al­lo­cated funds would cover the costs of the 40 build­ings on the ini­tial list.

Progress is al­ready be­ing made on some of the build­ings, in­clud­ing the Waver­ley Ho­tel, St Paul’s Church and the for­mer McEwens build­ing – the lat­ter of which was re­cently pur­chased by de­part­ment store chain Beales.

Seen bet­ter days

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