North Somerset Council to consider new restrictions on charity shops

Local authority at Weston-super-Mare will look at controlling how many are allowed in shopping areas

North Somerset Town Hall
North Somerset Town Hall

North Somerset Council will set up a working group to examine restricting the number of charity shops in the area and the possibility of charity shops paying the same rates as other shops.

At a meeting of the council’s strategic planning and economic development policy and scrutiny panel in Weston-super-Mare last week, members considered a report by council officers on town centre retailing.

It comes after David Shopland, a local independent councillor, said in November that the council should consider the issues because there was a "preponderance" of charity shops in the smaller towns.

The report asks the council to investigate the idea of controlling the number of charity shops in shopping areas and of charity shops paying the full rates, like other shops, as well as looking at the number of takeaway and snack bars in shopping areas.

It found that the number of charity shops in north Somerset had not changed significantly in recent years. In some areas charity shops accounted for as few as 2 per cent of all shop units, it found.

It also found that business rate relief was set by central government and that the council could not change the rate benefit set by charities.

The panel looked at these findings and identified a number of other concerns about the town centres, which were not related to charity shops.

It concluded that the panel should set up a working group to look into all of these concerns and raise "immediate concern as to the future viability for town centre businesses and town centre development".

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