Revaluation of rates on Tonbridge high street creates mix of winners and losers

The Fairfax Gallery 2

The majority of retailers on Tonbridge High Street are facing a cut in what they owe to the taxman next year following the latest revaluation of business rates.

But not all town businesses are sharing in this unexpected windfall. Some companies north of the river bridge and in the industrial estates are facing a rise of more than 30 per cent.

Of the first 60 properties on the High Street (Numbers 1-75) analysed by the Times, all but one faced a reduction, averaging 10.41 per cent.

This average figure does, however, hide some extremes. For example, the Choice Discount Stores outlet has had its rateable value halved.

But on Vale Road the 15 businesses the Times looked at faced an average of an 11.89 per cent increase.

There was also a spike to the north of the High Street, with addresses 148-158 seeing an average rise of 17.71 per cent. Sancho’s Kebab Shop and Bennett & Stevens, a property service business, will see increases of more than 30 per cent.

The Times put these figures to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC), but a spokesperson said it
was too early to explain the disparity between businesses on the High Street and Vale Road, and how this tax
cut will affect the council’s revenue.

Sharon Shelton, TMBC Director of Finance and Transformation, said: “As this latest rateable value list was only published by the Valuation Office last week, the council has not yet had the opportunity to evaluate in detail how
the council’s revenue will be affected.

“However, early indications suggest that decreases in some areas may be evened out by increases in others.”
The deduction follows last year’s relief when High Street businesses had their rates reduced by around ten per cent to compensate for the disruption from roadworks.

Susan Adams, who has run a store in the town for over 30 years, welcomed the changes to rates, especially considering her premises in the High Street is now eligible for 100 per cent rate relief.

In this year’s budget, the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that properties with a ‘rateable value’ of below £15,000 will be exempt from the tax.

Mrs Adams, who offers businesses services, said she was ‘delighted’ with the changes to rates, adding: “This is a huge help for small businesses along the High Street.”

Business rates are based on a property’s ‘rateable value’ and are decided by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

For a full list of valuations, go to:

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