Local businesses are ‘fighting to survive’

Trip Advisor Restaurant of the Year, The Plate at Backridge Farm.'Photo Ben Parsons
Trip Advisor Restaurant of the Year, The Plate at Backridge Farm.'Photo Ben Parsons

A combination of factors, including high business rates, are again being blamed for the closure of Ribble Valley businesses who simply cannot afford to keep their doors open.

The Plate brasserie, based at rural development Backridge, in Waddington, has closed it’s doors for the foreseeable future and according to owner Richard Drinkall, small businesses need not only to see a decrease in rates if they stand any chance of staying afloat, but also clarification on how their rates are arrived at.

Richard commented: “We are looking for new tenants to take on what has been a very successful, award winning business. The closure has simply been due to the high rates that the restaurant, as with all the other businesses situated at Backridge, are charged. The Plate faced rates of over £14,400 per year. That’s without all other overheads and before even putting any rent monies into the equation.”

The Plate, which opened in 2008, received a top Trip Advisor award in April and underwent a £10,000 refurbishment in June.

Richard continued: “It’s such a shame as we were doing everything right with the food and service. I’ve appealed the rates decision as similar businesses in the area are paying a lot less for the same facilities per square metre, but was just told it had been re-examined and that the rates would remain the same. I have even been in touch with our MP Nigel Evans, but have not had any response.”

Meanwhile, a popular sweet shop in Clitheroe has also said it will close at the end of the month.

Robert Taylor, owner of Candycopia in the Swan Courtyard said: “I love Clitheroe and wish we could stay. There is very little support in the way of promoting the town, resulting in no steady footfall. It seems to me that the borough council view the town with rose-tinted glasses and don’t realise that although there are a few big businesses paying good rates, the smaller businesses are the bread and butter of the town.”