Is Big Brother now at work for WLBC? Anyone reading the Champion front page report might wonder why WLBC officials visited Broughs Butchers for the first time in 13 years to question the company having the authority to set up its stall outside its premises for the Christmas lights event, being nudged into a two metre space by a mobile fast food operation. For all we know the one off fee paid by the fast food operation outweighed the full year of business rates Brough Butchers pays WLBC, year in year out?
Brough wrote “What an absolutely disgrace West Lancashire Borough Council are, tonight it was our Christmas light swith on which every year we have supported and done our annual bbq, today we were told we didn’t have permission to do it which we have never been told before we needed it, the council have always said it’s OK, so after a few discussions they said they will turn a blind eye, what they decided to do was to put a big marquee right in front of our shop so we couldn’t really trade”.
And later, Brough reported “After a disastrous Christmas light switch on last night we have a large quantity of barms left over and would like to give them to a food shelter or food bank can anyone recommend somewhere for us to drop off, thank you for all your comments and support last night many thanks”. Perhaps fast food operations are as generous?
In its recent accounts WLBC declares profits of £17,000 on the Market and £265,000 on Car Parks for 2016/17. The Market profits increased from £8,000 and the Car Parks decreased from £388,000 in the previous year. What’s wrong at the Car Parks? People driving out of Ormskirk to shop elsewhere? And more to the point, 19,000 people read about this “Rate paying shop v Mobile fast food stall” incident on the Brough Facebook. How will they respond?
This story, business rates versus cheap market fees, will run and run, coming as it does with the latest news of the jobs exodus from Skelmersdale and the loss of yet more business rates?