Builder’s fury over empty cottage tax

Kevin Rawding who is paying more council tax for the property he renovated in West Pinchbeck than for his own home.
Kevin Rawding who is paying more council tax for the property he renovated in West Pinchbeck than for his own home.

A Pinchbeck builder is horrified he has to pay more council tax for a derelict cottage he refurbished than the four-bed property he lives in.

Kevin Rawding’s revised bill from South Holland District Council landed on his doormat last week, informing him he would have to pay an additional premium of 50 per cent, taking the bill to £1,428.71.

Mr Rawding spent around £18,000 refurbishing a two-bed cottage in Northgate, West Pinchbeck, which went on the market three months ago and is on sale for £104,950.

He said: “I understand the changes were brought in to get empty properties filled, but how can the council justify an increase of 50 per cent – and why has it taken them from April until August to inform me?

“It’s costing more for the cottage than the four-bed property I’m living in – and I’m paying for services such as fire, ambulance and police that I don’t need.

“Will I get those knocked off the bill?

“It’s been on the market now for three months. I’ve done what they wanted which is to get an empty property back into circulation, so why do they want to charge me?

“It’s just wrong.”

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, the council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “Removing the empty property discount was one of the harsh decisions we have had to make to the gap to fund frontline services.

“What was a £1million shortfall between now and 2015 is now looking like £3million.

“Just when we think we are almost there we get another surprise that puts us even further back.

“I am afraid Mr Rawding is not on his own – this is an unfortunate fact of life for a lot of people.

“We know this is hitting hard working taxpayers who are doing their best and we do sympathise, but these are desperate times for all of us.”