Popular Sheffield city centre bar warns it could CLOSE after ‘disgusting’ business rates rise

Public SheffieldPublic Sheffield
Public Sheffield | JPIMedia
A Sheffield business owner has hit out at the City Council over a 'disgusting' rise in business rates.

James O'Hara, who owns the Public bar in the city centre, revealed on Twitter that the venue is facing an eye-watering 730 per cent rise in costs compared to last year.

In a series of tweets, he and others questioned whether or not the Council want to help local businesses, adding that he could be forced to ‘hand the keys back’.

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"What is the point? We took a space that was empty for 7 years. Spent a fortune making it into something which, I think, stands up to anything else, bar wise, in the country and then WALLOP, you get that through the door," Mr O'hara tweeted.

"Worth pointing out the bill is DOUBLE what we pay in rent."

Although the rate is set by the Valuation Office Agency, Mr O'Hara said, it is enforced by Sheffield City Council.

He claimed if the rating is appealed business owners are expected to pay the Council or risk court summons. That process, he said, took an entire year last time.

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Other businesses weighed in, with one claiming the costs faced risk turning Sheffield into a 'Ghost Town'.

Beres Pork Shop tweeted: "Fargate will be a ghost town soon. All the big players are pulling out leaving big stores with massive rates. I’d take one tomorrow if something could be done."

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, who represents the Darnall ward for Labour, admitted "the current system of business rates needs an overhaul". He said he plans to look into the issue.

Sheffield City Council have been contacted for comment.

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