Boost for Business as Chantry Centre Service Charges Cut
Test Valley Borough Council has today announced that businesses in the Chantry Centre are set to see the total service charge fall by more than £150k for 2020. The service charge goes towards the costs of managing, promoting and maintaining the centre.
Leader of the Council, Phil North said: “This is excellent news for Chantry Centre businesses. Since I became Leader of Test Valley, I have been clear that rejuvenating our Town Centres is our number one priority and this is the latest in a long line of policy decisions to try and breathe new life into Andover.”
“Ask anyone about improving the High Street – and many will respond by saying just cut the rates and you’ll attract more business. Unfortunately, we have no control over business rates, which are set centrally but as the new landlords of the Chantry Centre we can set the service charges - and I’m delighted we have been able to bring these down, meaning the average tenant will be paying 18% less. For any tenant that might have seen their allocation of the service charge budget go up - the council has decided not to pass on that increase.”
Cllr North added: “We are also forensically analysing several other aspects of the service charge with a view to reducing it further in future years to ensure we keep the wonderful businesses already trading in the centre and to attract new ones.”
Some of the costs to improve and maintain the fabric of the centre would normally be passed to tenants through the service charge but the authority has agreed to cover these in recognition of the lack of investment by the mall’s previous owners. This includes more than £900k to deliver major improvements to the centre including fixing the leaking roof to make it weather and wind proof.
Test Valley has also changed the way some elements of the service charge are delivered, for example taking the marketing of the centre in house, which has saved money.
The authority purchased the centre in March in a bid to facilitate the wider redevelopment of the town centre. The council is currently working alongside renowned urban design experts, HemingwayDesign and NEW masterplanning, to draw up a masterplan to rejuvenate the town.