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10pc refund for years of Metro misery

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 13 January 2014

Town-centre business owners are furious that after three years of Metrolink disruption that closed some of them down, all the compensation they are being offered is a 10 per cent reduction on their business rates.

Businesses along Union Street and nearby are locked in a legal battle over compensation as an end to Metrolink construction problems is at last in sight.

The Valuation Office Agency is offering only an allowance of 10 per cent. One of the people representing businesses in the town, Mike Peacock, said: “The agency has been particularly intransigent and have stuck their heels in, offering only 10 per cent from January 2011 to January 2014, for Union Street ratepayers.

“People have been significantly affected by the Metrolink works and have suffered problems with access, parking and building work. We do not consider 10 per cent is a sufficient reduction to reflect the disturbance.”

Mr Peacock continued: “One of the biggest attractions of businesses on Union Street and the surrounding area was the fact people could come down, park outside and nip into a shop or cafe for a few minutes.

“While the works have been going on that hasn’t been possible - and it has meant businesses have been charged more rent than their properties are actually worth.”

Claire Miller, manager of Q Print on Union Street, said: “Businesses deserve more compensation than just 10 per cent after the nightmare of the last few years. We’ve been losing around £500 a day since the work started. People simply haven’t been coming into Oldham and we’ve been told that if it doesn’t pick up in the new year, we could all be out of a job.”

Andy Heald, owner of Andy’s Auto Parts on Rhodes Bank, was equally upset: “Our walk-in trade has all but disappeared while the work has been going on.

“The reduction in business rates is a joke and nothing but a token gesture,” he said. “It just shows that no one cares about the businesses here.”

Comments

Doesn't seem to be a fair offer, 3 years of keeping your livelihood afloat, battling the disruption to be offered 10%. I do believe one or two business's folded due to the chaos of the Metrolink.

Don't worry traders. Think of all the extra customers flooding into Oldham on the new metro from places like Failsworth & Newton Heath preferring to take the line to Oldham and turning their back on Manchester. Ho ho ho.

These businesses have nothing to fear,according to Oldham council thousands of people will be flocking to Oldham once the tram line is up and running !

Does seem a bit unfair when you take into account that these businesses won't see any benefit from the Metrolink coming to Oldham. I'm a great fan of the Metrolink but the only benefit it will bring is helping people to get out, both the Oldham resident and perhaps the people who fall asleep on the tram when they board in Manchester with the intention of going somewhere else and then wake up when they are in Oldham, poor things.

Well what else did you expect from this money grabbing council ?

It just shows how much Oldham Council really wants businesses in the town, when this is not making up for those surviving for the 3 years of disruption along Union street, and other businesses in the town, but then they never listen do they!!!!

@John Price & @charterplan. What has this got to do with the Council? Business Rates are set by the Government and the Valuations Office Agency is a Government Department.

It really makes me wonder if people actually read these articles before they type their comments!
Nowhere does it day that this is a council decision, if you bother to read (and can comprehend!) this is a decision by the Valuation Office Agency 'an executive agency of HM Revenue & Customs' and nothing to do with the council who just collect the money on behalf of the government.

@JohnPrice and @Charterplan - just a query but how does Oldham Council relate to this proposal which comes from the Valuation Office Agency?

Jmts and Bramble, because who was it who voted to have our railway taken from us, and have it run through the town.
I am sick of councillors (ex) who all have a disrespect for its public, and really have never got this town right, but left it in a state.

It's the Valuation Office Agency that has arrived at this recommendation. But the usual vultures can't resist leaping to their keyboards in order to attack their favourite target.

@Charterplan - all very well but can you answer the question of what Oldham Council has to do with a story on the Valuation Office???

Semantics Bramble.
There would be no issue at all if the council represented the views of the people and not got caught up in the "new fangled" Metro hype.

Most wanted to keep the rail system and they ignored us, now further problems have been caused.

See the connection now?

@mynamesunavailable - no, I still don't see how the Council is linked to this story about the Valuation Office? What I do see is someone using an unrelated story to try and have a dig at the council

Councillors are deluded into believing that the Metrolink will bring more people to Oldham, wake up and smell the coffee, Manchester is now easier than ever to get to to do your shopping there!!!!

 

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