RECENTLY a flat of mine came empty. The council hit me straight away with full rates as, apparently at the stroke of a pen a couple of years ago, the short exemption for unoccupied premises whilst being renovated was withdrawn. I will have to increase the rent to cover this cost and I expect other landlords will be doing the same.

My enquiries show that the Old Post Office in Castle Street pays no rates as it is a listed building. This has a frontage of 85 yards to the road and has been unoccupied for some years. The council is always saying that it is strapped for cash despite all the rates coming in from all the new houses in the area. Just how many unoccupied listed buildings are in the area and why cannot a stroke of the pen at County Hall rectify this costly anomaly?

Andrew Poole