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May 9, 2017

Rates Set By Council Damaging Business Activity in New Ross

by Raymond Forte

This weeks New Ross Standard is filled with intriguing articles. The most intriguing one, to me, is the one regarding the rates that businesses must pay in New Ross. I am proud of our little town and I have views that I am going to express. It’s great to see a businessman in town step up to express their opinion. Emmett Ronan, who owns and operates Harveys Coffee House has brought to light, to the public, exactly how hard it is to try run a successful business in New Ross. The article wrote by David Looby on the issue is as excellent as Emmett’s coffee. 

I have been in business for a year and a half. In this time I have talked to almost every other business owner in town and our local economic activity. From what I gathered, all have told me New Ross used to be a thriving town. If you hear anyone say New Ross is a thriving town, lets be honest; it’s not. We hear all the time how well the Dunbrody Centre is doing for the town, which is a fantastic business. And it is doing well. For that small section of the town. However, that is where is stops.

Tourists come in every week, yet they do not leave that side of town. That part of town is the only attraction. That part of town they are directed into the Dunbrody centre, not the town centre. There, the tourists can get their souvenirs, their coffee and their food. Again, its a fantastic centre but rarely do you see tourists visiting the main street or any other of the streets.

Half of the quay is vacant property. Why?

New Ross should be a thriving town. And I ask, is it fair to pay the same rates as a similar business with similar size space is paying in Wexford town? A town that as mentioned in the article has 10 times the footfall, 10 times business activity as New Ross.

In my short time in business, I have seen businesses blocked from opening. Businesses that would have made the town thrive, such as a big discount store, which I will not name. I have seen Sportsavers, a big brand run out of businesses.  A few takeaways has come and gone or switched hands due to poor business.

The council demand high rates for a town that does not generate much business activity. It is not right. It needs to be changed.

I might not have the solution. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to allow new businesses free rates for the first two or three years. This gives the business a greater chance of survival that might last 10 years or more rather than 3 or 4 years, if even. There is a system in place that is suppose to help new business with their rates but it is complex and designed in a bad way. Outdated, perhaps.

I give my full support to Emmett and I am extremely happy he has decided to stand up and raise awareness. I’m not sure if I can do anything to change the way the council treat local business but I will do what I can if fellow business owners come together.

A new way of thinking is needed by the local council.

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