AN OSWESTRY businessman has described Shropshire Council as 'unhelpful' in their demand for around £30,000 in rates, which he has been told to pay by November 30.

Per Lindstrand says that he may be forced to close his Lindstrand Technologies Ltd hot air balloon business, which is based at the Mile Oak Industrial Estate, in Maesbury Road, if the rates are not paid.

But he says that while he is still open for the second Covid-19 lockdown, he closed the company for the first lockdown during the summer and believes the enforcement of rates by Shropshire Council is unfair to his business.

"I've paid a lot of money over 42 years – why should small businesses be given support and big businesses not?" said Mr Lindstrand.

"We have agreed to pay it. We had to shut down in March and we're not going to claw back our money.

"Shropshire Council have been unhelpful – what do I get for my rates for my £32,000?"

Mr Lindstrand said his frustration comes from the impact the first lockdown had on his company and the help he perceives smaller businesses than his have had from Shropshire Council.

He added that the council have not budged on their payment deadlines, which puts his financial fears into greater focus.

“We are not even being given an extension of time to pay, to take into account the fact that we were closed for half of the year," he added.

“If we cannot get any rate relief we need time to claw back money we lost during the lockdown. By government order we had to shut down completely for six months. Staff were furloughed and I was the only one in the factory.

“We are open during this lockdown but it will take us time to claw back the money we lost earlier in the year.

“Yet we can get no rate relief and we have been told unless we pay up by the end of November we will be closed down.

“It is appalling the way manufacturing is being treated.

“We employ 30 people and were one of the first businesses to move onto Oswestry’s industrial estate.

“We have had no help from Shropshire Council.

“The only thing I have ever asked for were double yellow lines to stop people parking at the entrance to the factory and I didn’t even get that.”

Phil Weir, Shropshire Council’s revenues and benefits service manager, said: “The Government has introduced business rate relief for the 2020/21 financial year for businesses, within the retail, leisure or hospitality sectors, that meet certain eligibility criteria. 

“Factories would not qualify for this relief. 

"Any business rate payer that is struggling with the rates, or would like more information about other rate reliefs that might be available, should contact our business rates team on 0345 678 9002.”