A businessman has finally landed his dream of moving his fishing tackle shop into his favourite pub after becoming tangled in red tape from this year’s rates revaluation.
Steve Ashton was locked in discussions with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) over his conversion of The Crown on Holderness Road, Hull, from a derelict shell into a state-of-the-art angling store. But he is now open for business after help from AS Rating.
Ashton Property Company, which is owned by Steve, bought the pub on 20 March after plans were dropped to turn it into a Netto supermarket. He promptly received a rates bill for £1,500, followed by another for £3,900 for April, and he appointed Adrian Smith of AS Rating to look into the demands.
Adrian advised Steve to challenge the amounts on the basis that the rateable value for The Crown had dropped from around £80,000 to around £23,500 and because of the condition of a building which had been ransacked by vandals during the two years in which it sat empty.
But Steve could not take up the VOA’s “check, challenge, appeal” procedure because the new system had not registered him as the owner of the property.
Adrian’s success in persuading Hull City Council to put a hold on the building’s business rates account enabled Steve to go ahead with the conversion and he has now completed the relocation of Hull Angling Centre.
The project has created seven new jobs with the prospect of more to come once work is completed on three more units. The business has been transformed, with stock expanded to include rods, reels, baits and clothing.
Steve said: “People in the area are telling us how good it is that someone has done something positive with the old building. They were sick of people wheel-spinning in the car park and dumping waste there.
“If Adrian hadn’t been able to help me I’d have paid those initial demands and then nearly £4,000 per month for a building that I couldn’t use to generate any revenue. Or maybe I’d just have sold it on to get rid of it”
Adrian said: “I explained to Hull City Council that the building was not capable of beneficial occupation and I also sent them photographs. They said they would put a temporary hold on the account until we could resolve things, but we couldn’t get the VOA to come and see the building because they don’t recognise Steve as the owner.
“If Steve had been required to pay rates on the derelict building it’s unlikely this project could have progressed. He’s created a new business, new jobs and opportunities for other businesses in a part of the city that really needs investment.”