Trethowans champions high street businesses

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Dorset law firm Trethowans is backing calls from the CBI for changes to the current business rates system.

James Kidner, partner at the firm’s Bournemouth office, says high streets across the county would be in a far better position to flourish if there was a new, fit-for-purpose approach.

This week the business lobby group the CBI warned that the current business rates system is ‘entrenching regional unfairness’. Its president John Allan said that the long gap between rate revaluation were punishing areas of the country that were struggling and hitting those on the way up.

Trethowans is supporting the CBI’s calls for the Government to review the ‘broken’ system on behalf of businesses in Bournemouth and across the county.

James Kidner, who specialises in commercial property at the firm, said: “I completely agree that the system must now be broken and amplified by the trend towards online retail. The Bournemouth high street is, I believe, trying to change and adapt to new uses, but the way business rates are calculated is still hampering growth of new ideas and is no longer fit for purpose of traditional retailers.”

Under existing rules, a company’s business rates are calculated based on a property’s estimated value on the open market. However, rate revaluations only happen around every three years, which means companies could be paying over the odds for years if property values drop.

The CBI says the system also deters investment in premises, because any upgrades could push up bills.

James says: “It seems nonsensical that, for example, an environmental conscious landlord/tenant could install solar panels, which then add to the value of the property and that itself pushes up business rates because of the increase in value.”

James and other commercial property experts at Trethowans are backing the CBI’s calls for a new review of the current system.

“We appreciate there were significant rate cuts promised in the last Budget, however, what we really need is a change of approach for the long-term,” James says. “The high street is changing so fast that relying on an investigation into business rates in 2016 is now surely out of date. It’s time to take a fresh look at the status quo and stand up for local businesses, like those in Bournemouth.”

To find out more about Trethowans, represents a large number of businesses in the region when it comes to commercial property, visit