The former Wrights of Louth premises could become an extension of the Studio 2000 School of Dance - after other potential tenants were put off by “killer” business rates.
A ‘change of use’ application has been submitted to East Lindsey District Council by Mick and Carol Wright, which would see the former newsagent’s shop become part of the adjoining dance studio which is owned by their daughter, Nicky Wright.
Studio 2000 currently has over 200 pupils and will soon be taking on new teachers, so an additional large room for teaching would be a welcome extension for Nicky and her colleagues.
Carol Wright said: “Hopefully this will go through, meaning that Nicky can employ more teachers and put on more lessons for the pupils.
“We tried to rent the shop out to other retailers for three months, but nobody wants it.
“Our rent prices were cheap, but I think that the expensive business rates put people off. Ours increased from £10,000 up to £12,000 per year, which is a lot of money.”
Carol added: “Business rates are a killer in Louth - it really puts off business owners, so it’s not helping the town centre at all.
“But unfortunately I don’t think this is going to change.”
Mrs Wright’s comments come just a few months after Nick Heywood, the owner of Jassies, revealed his intention to close down the Jassies Max sweet shop in Market Place for similar reasons.
In February, Mr Heywood said: “Due to the rent, the VAT and the local rates being too high, the overheads were just too excessive.
“The economics don’t justify our sweet shop being on that corner. It’s a real shame.”
Mr Heywood intends to consolidate the goods on offer in both his stores into the original Jassies branch, which is based in Pawnshop Passage.
Tillett’s boutique also closed their Mercer Row branch in February due to a combination of rent prices and high business rates, although the company moved into the New Market Hall the following month.
An East Lindsey District Council spokesperson told the Leader: “Business Rates are determined by the Government nationally dependent on location and the rateable value of the property. It’s not a local discretion.
“More information can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/valuation-office-agency.”
The Wrights of Louth ‘change of use’ application has been validated by East Lindsey District Council, and the decision is expected to be delegated to a planning officer in the coming months.
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