In a stunning move, Bristol City Council have added to the severe jeopardy faced by music venues at the moment by raising The Fleece‘s business rates – essentially council tax for businesses – by a whopping 404%.
This comes amid the venue’s fight against not one but two new developments in the area, the shadows of which already loom long as people begin to move into the luxury flats now opposite.
Compared to their £17,800 rate in 2010, it has recently been increased to an incredible £72,000, which, as per their Facebook post yesterday, the venue says it simply cannot afford. The post also included a table comparing their new rates to similar businesses, including those in the very same building:
But why the change? Speaking to the Bristol Post, owner Chris Sharpe said:
“The crux of the problem, I think, is that they have listed us as a public house and not a live music venue, which is incorrect and means we have to pay higher rates. I’ve been fighting hard to get us reclassified and they finally did so last week – but for some reason the business rates have stayed the same. Someone in that office isn’t doing their job properly and it’s so frustrating.”
The hope now is that by going public with the issue, the people of Bristol will be able to effect change better than the venue can alone.
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