County news

Pub of the Year Orange Tree, Baldock rates hike battle

Written by Steve Bury

Rob Scahill took over the Orange Tree, Baldock in 2010 when it was under threat of closure. Since then he has built up the business and in 2015 won CAMRA Hertfordshire Pub Of The Year and CAMRA cider Pub Of The Year awards. Everything was going well until the 2017 rates demand landed on the doormat. Rob was surprised and then furious as his rateable value had been increased by an eye-watering 135%. Rob said “After giving six years of everything I had, this is like a fine for doing well”. The pub owned by Greene King dates back to 1680 and employs 30 people, running regular events and an annual beer festival.

The Boot, also Greene King and in Baldock, has had a 100% proposed increase to their business rates. Tom Curran the
landlord said “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. Looking to the future I can’t see pubs like ours surviving”.

The changes to the rateable values of pubs has a knock on effect by increasing insurance premiums and the cost of Sky and BT sports. So far the council have given no explanation for the rises and both publicans have requested a review.

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