A number of members whose landlords are WHBC, are complaining that, at a time when they have been unable to trade thanks to the Council and Governments complete mishandling of Covid 19, (and when independent landlords are offerring rent free periods and rents based upon turnover, which in time will help to reduce business rates), our local council is insisting on payment in full of both rent and rates.
Back in March I asked Bernard Sarson, how the Council would be helping local retail, his response was that it would be looked at on an individual basis. I asked who the decision makers would be on this, and was told it would be a full meeting of the council to review each case. When I pointed out that this was completely impractical, he failed to answer the question. I asked what the strategy was to help business. He, as the councillor with the business portfolio, did not know that either.
The truth is that whilst the Council have all sorts of powers to give businesses payment holidays on rents and rates, I have never known one to be granted. They are happy to waste your time whilst they get paid looking into it. But they have no intention of delivering against their promises and moral obligations.
As John Dean once said to me
“It is not the Job of the Council to look after the interests of business”
At least that was accurate.
As Mark Twain said
“It’s not what you don’t know, that gets you into trouble
It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so”
You assume that in a democracy the people you pay to protect your interests, are on your side. The truth is, often they are not. The just look after themselves at your expense. It is a gross breach of trust. And I see it everywhere.
New Zealand Covid 19 Deaths 25. UK Covid Deaths 100,000 see https://www.welhatchamber.co.uk/corona-virus/ This was avoidable, see what we had to say in February 2020.
What is the Solution? Well start by standing as an independent councillor, and voting for independent councillors in the upcoming elections. If you can, avoid having the council as a landlord.
Who is trying to help? All the people that live in the real world of helping each other, most landlords and even pension funds in the south.
As I understand it, Gascoyne Estates, the Howard Center and the Galleria are all taking a practical approach to this.
Many retail rents are now based on a % of turnover. Office space is collapsing in rental value for obvious reasons, I have not looked into industrial space recently, although much of this is being converted to housing reducing supply.
Quite where all these people are going to work, park, go to school, get medical care etc, are questions that as far as can tell, noone has really thought through. And yet they all get paid for sitting at home.