Letchworth businesses finally land meeting over rent rise

A meeting will take place on Monday with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

A meeting will take place on Monday with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation - Credit: Sarah Allison

BUSINESS owners who claimed they had tried for years to meet with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LGCHF) to talk about proposals to increase ground rent have finally secured a meeting – following a report in the Comet.

The move comes after the Comet reported last month that business owners on Woodside Industrial Park in Letchworth GC had tried for years to speak to LGCHF when it proposed to increase ground rent by thousands of pounds, leading to fears that some businesses would be forced to close.

Dave Poole, who runs Autolube on the industrial park, said: “Having the article in the Comet has worked 100 per cent, we have a meeting with them on August 5. Where we go from there, I don’t know, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Mr Poole, who has been running his business from the Works Road property for the past 23 years, told the Comet last month that the 22 businesses on the industrial site had been paying a nominal rate but now face having to pay rent of up to £6,000 or more a year.

Speaking about the latest development, business owner Emlyn Miles, who has owned Express Plastic Mouldings for 33 years, said: “It is a big step forward to get a meeting with them and hopefully we can sort this out.

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“They are supposed to be a charity, so we hope we can reach a compromise without upsetting anyone and move forward. I started my business in the Spirella and we want to stay in Letchworth GC.”

Business owners have acknowledged there needs to be a rent increase, but say it should be fair and reasonable.

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A spokesman for Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation said: “We are always happy to talk with business owners and are pleased a meeting has been arranged. We look forward to it on Monday.”

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