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Weymouth Wants New Council Scheme to Save Business Startups Money

Weymouth Town Centre

7:48am 13th June 2014

It's a sight no one likes to see - empty shops in Weymouth.

But it's hoped a new business rate relief scheme will breathe new life into the town centre.

Under the Government Funded Scheme businesses that move into shops which have been empty more than a year will now get a 50% discount on their business rates for 18 months.

In order to qualify, traders will need to have moved in between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. However, it will not be available to all businesses. Among those not qualifying will be betting shops, pay day loan companies and pawn brokers.

Julie Cleaver, Chairman of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce called for the move after West Dorset District Council adopted the scheme.

"We've got some great shops in Weymouth and Portland some of them do trade very well.  But I think 85 are empty across Weymouth and Portland.  We all love shopping - the great British High Street and anything we can do to make that a vibrant shopping experience again must be a great thing."

Julie told us what new shops she'd like to see in Weymouth High Street.

"I think maybe some of the more traditional skills are being asked for again. The bakers, the butchers maybe not the candlestick makers but some of those traditional local specialist really who could really bring some variety by offering some independent trades into the town."

Cllr Colin Huckle, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Finance and Assets Briefholder, said: "We are very keen to do all we can to support local businesses as they are the lifeblood of our communities.

"We want to help revitalise our town centre and the shops of our borough and I am very pleased we can help them." 

If you're thinking of starting a business you can read some advice for new startups here.

More information about business rates is available here.

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