New policies, put in place by Monmouthshire County Council are going to have a detrimental affect on some local businesses, causing concern and increasing already high overhead costs of running a business.
For several years now, Monmouthshire County Council have been working on a project to introduce new charges for businesses across Monmouthshire, based on outside displays and A Boards.
Back in 2017 Monmouth County Council agreed that they would review the policy they were trying to enforce, which meant that any business who places a A Board in the highway, had to have a licence and pay a fee to do so. There would also be a separate charge for a licence and another annual fee, for any traders displaying goods or offering seating etc outside their premises.
In June 2018 Monmouthshire County Council quietly introduced the new policy details, which now means that whilst businesses need a licence for A Boards, there would be no fee payable. However, the policy on external displays of goods or services will be enforced, and is already enforce, with visits to local businesses, who have displays seeking agreement and signing traders up for licences and payments.
Caldicot Town Team do not support this policy, the majority of the argument by MCC for the introduction is on health and safety grounds, whilst this may well be relevant in towns such as Monmouth and Chepstow, with short pavements, this does not apply to the pedestrianised area of Caldicot town centre. Above that however, we firmly believe this is adding more, unnecessary pressure to small independent businesses, who already have huge overheads, with rents, high business rates. To be hit with another bill, potentially of a couple of hundred pounds a year, is just unnecessary, this applies not just to Caldicot, but all small independent businesses across Monmouthshire.
Caldicot Town Team have written to Monmouthshire County Council asking for them to consider scrapping the charges entirely for those businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief. The cost of making this exemption is less that £950 per annum. However, every pound counts towards vital income for our small business traders and should be supported wherever possible.
There is also an argument regarding the county’s market traders, who, without clarification, seem to be exempt from this policy already, At already hugely reduced trading rates permanent businesses feel they are being penalised.