WISBECH: Joy and sadness of TV landlady who may be forced out of business

PUBLISHED: 18:06 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010

May Turner, landlady Red Lion, Wisbech - Rates bill and C4 documentary

May Turner, landlady Red Lion, Wisbech - Rates bill and C4 documentary

EXCLUSIVE by Adam Lazzari A WISBECH landlady picked for a Channel 4 documentary celebrating British pubs - has revealed she fears her business could close due to a massive increase in business rates. May Turner, landlady of the Red Lion, on North Brink, w

EXCLUSIVE by Adam Lazzari

A WISBECH landlady picked for a Channel 4 documentary celebrating British pubs - has revealed she fears her business could close due to a massive increase in business rates.

May Turner, landlady of the Red Lion, on North Brink, will appear in a one-off Cutting Edge documentary and crews are set to visit the pub in the next fortnight.

However the event, which should be a chance of celebration, has been marred by the fact the Valuation Office Agency has decided to increase rates by £3,017.87 to £9,370.37 for a six-month period.

The increase is due to her adding an extension with a restaurant, and she is now appealing against the decision.

Mrs Turner said: "I was shocked when I discovered the increase. Times are hard already and this could cause us to close.

"Pubs are struggling to survive all over the country and the Government is doing us no favours."

A VOA spokesman said: "Levels of business rates are assessed according to the likely rental value of the property at a set date.

"This ensures consistency and fairness in the way all non-domestic property is valued.

"When a restaurant facility has been established in an existing public house, the VOA will reassess its trading potential and therefore its rental value.

"This method of valuation is agreed with the industry and is a tried and tested way of valuing pubs.

"The ratepayer has the opportunity to appeal to the VOA should they think the assessment is incorrect."

Mrs Turner revealed that a film crew is set to visit the Wisbech Red Lion for the documentary which looks at how pubs play an important part in the British community.

The documentary is set to be shown in May.

Director and producer Sue Bourne said: "We are visiting as many Red Lion pubs in the country as we can. We chose the Red Lion because it is the most popular pub name in Britain - I believe there are between 600 and 700.

"The documentary is a general feature about how pubs are integral to the fabric of British culture.

"The documentary has an overall positive tone but we do look at the effect the credit crunch has had on pubs. We visited one pub that had closed down. It was the end of an era for many in that community.


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