Businesses based in Uckfield High Street will be getting an automatic reduction in business rates from today (February 21).
The cut will last until the end of the roadworks, writes Paul Watson.
Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has negotiated the reduction with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
Businesses in the central High Street will get a 15 per cent allowance on their business rates.
Properties that are not directly affected by the works outside their properties will get a 7.5 per cent cut.
Precise boundaries will be notified later. Business premises will get letters direct from Wealden District Council, which collects business rates.
Businesses in the High Street will not need to lodge separate appeals, although they will still be able to appeal if they think there is a case for a further reduction.
The reductions may make some premises eligible for the small business rates relief scheme, which will apply.
This means that for some businesses, even greater savings will be made.
The Chamber has been in touch with the VOA for some weeks and has held a number of “productive discussions” with them prior to today’s announcement.
This has included a meeting in Uckfield at which the nature and extent of the improvement works were discussed and their practical effect on local businesses.
Chamber President Bernard Smith said: “This is a really positive step which recognises the challenges our local businesses face.
“It puts money back into the hands of our local traders and makes a tangible difference to their cashflow, which will continue throughout the duration of the works.
“Although the current reductions only apply to the High Street, where businesses in the wider area, particularly businesses in Bell Lane and on the Bellbrook estate have been affected, the ability to lodge individual appeals against business rates remains.
“Traders and businesses are advised to keep detailed notes of any additional costs and changes in turnover to support such appeals.”
Mr Smith said the Uckfield Chamber continued to work productively with the “Uckfield – The Future” group and partner agencies on a range of promotional initiatives for the town.
“The Chamber also remains committed to ensuring that the works are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible whilst supporting our members and the business community,” Mr Smith said.