August 2016 Business Scene
Uckfield-based Oldfield Smith & Co has secured an agreement to reduce business rates in Hailsham, where roadworks have recently begun, similar to one it achieved in Uckfield.
In both schemes, traders in the affected areas will be awarded an automatic discount, without the need for any application, form filling or other formal procedures.
Director and Head of Professional Services, Bernard Smith, said: “This is good news for Hailsham retailers who, like their counterparts in Uckfield, have been badly affected by a road closures and other adverse matters relating to town centre improvements.
“Although clearly not a complete answer to these issues, it does reduce outgoings for some of the most badly affected. By agreeing a general scheme in this way, there is no delay in reducing business rates bills and the costs of a multitude of individual appeals is avoided.”
Mr Smith, who is president of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce, said that the offer from Oldfield Smith to help Hailsham businesses came about as Uckfield and Hailsham Chambers work closely together sharing knowledge and expertise.
Business in both the Uckfield and Hailsham schemes remain able to lodge an appeal for a further reduction, if there are circumstances which result in the adverse effect of the works being greater in respect of their own premises than the surrounding buildings.
Water supply choice for business
South East Water has applied for a retail licence to enable it to offer business customers a single bill for the supply of drinking water and disposal of waste water from April 1 next year when water companies will start competing in the business retail sector.
From that date, business customers will be able to buy water and waste water services in much the same way they currently do for their energy suppliers.
South East Water currently just supplies customers’ drinking water, and so it is applying to Ofwat, the water industry regulator, for a licence that will enable it to retail waste water service too, giving customers the choice of a single bill for both their water and waste water services.
More local businesses benefit from district council spending
Wealden Council spent £4.4 million last year with companies based in the district and two thirds of this – £3.1 million – was with small companies.
The amount spent with small local companies, which employ fewer than 50 people, has risen by £400,000 on the previous year. Read more
Free advice and support
Advice is available for businesses in the Uckfield area from Business East Sussex which supports organisations wanting to grow by offering free access to a wide range of services.
Those services include signposting and guidance for apprenticeships, training, access to finance, development grants, start up loans, relocation advice and consultancy and mentoring.
Access is free of charge but some on-going services may be chargeable or match-funded. More details here
Chamber plans for the future
The business organisation’s bi-monthly meetings are already popular networking sessions and it successfully co-ordinates events such as late night shopping each year and business awards every other year.
Railway station improvements
Clean-up and tidy group Brighter Uckfield has joined forces with train operator Southern to improve the Uckfield railway station environment.
Paynes Heating and Plumbing
Paynes Heating and Plumbing Services has won an award for efficiency from the Worcester Bosch Group.
The Blackboys-based company won its award for collaboration after working with Basingstoke Council and YES Energy Solutions to install air-to-air heat pumps in mobile homes.
Uckfield bookkeepers Claire Packham and Jo Carpenter ran 10k as part of a team which raised nearly £3000 for charity.
Claire, director of Team 4 Solutions, based in Mill Lane, is a trustee for Children of Peace which aims to build relationships between Israeli and Palestinian children so that future generations can live in peace together.