Cardan faces 335% rates hike

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A well known Lisburn business faces an uncertain future after it discovered its rates bill would increase by a staggering 335%.

John Poots, who owns Cardan Bar in Bachelor’s Walk, said he would have to consider the future of the popular bar if he could not win an appeal to have his rates reduced following a recent revaluation.

The new rates “rebalancing” has meant that some businesses in Lisburn will have a reduction in their rates bill. However, others like Cardan are facing steep increases which are putting them under severe financial pressure.

“We feel like we are being penalised for being a successful business,” said Mr Poots.

He said he cannot put up the price of a pint because customers will simply go somewhere else.

“To cover this we will have to increase our prices by 5-10% and that leaves us at a standstill and that is only if customers keep coming,” he continued.

Explaining the new revaluation system, Land and Property Services said: “Currently business rates are based on 2001 values, after revaluation they will be based on 2013 values. Business rates will then be rebalanced because the proportion of the rate burden that each ratepayer pays will be shared out relative to the current value of their property.The valuers take into account what the property could be rented for, as well as how successful the business is, which has been entitled the ‘Receipts and Expenditure Method’.

“I think the system is flawed,” continued Mr Poots.

“Nearly every shop in Bow Street has had a 50-55% reduction and I don’t get the logic of that. The easiest way to do it would be to charge a rate per square foot and then everyone is the same and it would be a equitable price.”

Mr Poots said he would be appealing the decision but that if the appeal was unsuccessful he will have to give serious consideration about whether or not he can continue to operate the business.

“I had assumed everywhere outside of Belfast would have a rates decrease or stay the same. I was shocked when I found out that my bill would increase by around £25,000 a year,” he continued.

“I am going to request information on how they got the figures, launch an appeal and hope for the best.

“If the bill doesn’t change I would have to give serious thought to whether or not I could carry on.”