West Pinchbeck riding school joins campaign for fairer business rates

Paula Leverton with young riders at Fourwinds Equestrian Centre, West Pinchbeck.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG110415-105TW.
Paula Leverton with young riders at Fourwinds Equestrian Centre, West Pinchbeck. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG110415-105TW.

Horse riders in South Holland are to lobby their MP over fears that their business rates could jump by more than 80 per cent.

Riding schools in the area are backing a campaign by the British Horse Society (BHS) which calls for a rethink of how rates a calculated, with one equestrian centre in West Pinchbeck facing a rise of £300 a month.

Leanne Kerry on board her bay mare Royal Rival (Riva).

Leanne Kerry on board her bay mare Royal Rival (Riva).

Fourwinds Equestrian Centre has launched its own campaign to get South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes to persuade the Government to review the new valuations used to set business rates published in September.

Paula Leverton, founder and head coach at the centre, said: “What would it mean for any business if they were told that they have to pay 70 per cent more in business rates?

“It seems that the Government has decided to double the rate for stables and, in some cases, more than double it.

“We pay about £400 a month, but it looks like we’ll be paying about £700 a month which would have a knock-on effect on everybody here

It seems that the Government has decided to double the rate for stables and, in some cases, more than double it

Paula Leverton, founder and senior head coach, Fourwinds Equestrian Centre, West Pinchbeck

“Whilst we don’t object to paying a bit more, there has to be a limit to what we’re having to find and we can’t keep putting up prices.

“Livery yards based on farms don’t pay any business rates at all, so it’s a very unfair playing field.

“If some shops have their business rates put up, whilst others don’t, people would be up in arms about it.”

Leanne Kerry (17), who runs her own equestrian business near Long Sutton, said: “I’ve become very anxious about the consequences I’ll have to face, both at present and in the future.

“With limited opportunities in the equestrian world local to South Holland, every livery yard and riding school in the area is sacred.

“Raising costs to run these facilities is only going to reduce the numbers further and it would become impossible for a teenager like myself to fund such an investment.

“I hope to build myself a career in equestrianism, producing young horses, offering lessons, schooling and livery.

“With this in mind, I’ve already begun to develop my business but if business rates are to rise, I wouldn’t be able to afford to run the yard of my own that I’ve been blessed with and all of the time, effort and money that has been put into it would have been wasted.

“Without the right support and funding, creating the next generation of horse riders will be impossible.”

A Department of Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “This government has announced the biggest ever cut in business rates, worth over £6 billion to businesses across the next five years.

“It means that three quarters of companies will either see no change at all or even a fall in their bills.

“But for the minority of businesses that do face an increase, we are putting in place £3.6 billion of transitional relief and no small property will see more than a five per cent increase in rates next year.”