Solar panels leave Preston salon in hot water

Jo and Cass in Preston has become one of the first salons in the UK to embrace solar power  Victoria Banks and Shaun Frew
Jo and Cass in Preston has become one of the first salons in the UK to embrace solar power Victoria Banks and Shaun Frew
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A businessman who installed solar panels on the roof of his salon to improve his carbon footprint, has been told his business rates may now increase due to his investment.

Graham Cass, owner of Jo & Cass salons in Preston, was one of the first salons in the UK to embrace solar power.

But now, Preston City Council have issued a letter asking him to complete a form to explain the “rate ability of the microgenerators.”

Graham said: “As a business owner we were trying to be green and help reduce carbon foot print and retrospectively changing the rules, when something is already done, is hardly fair.

“Why encourage people to use alternatives to fossil fuels then punish them?

Graham continued: “Our rateable value is already in excess of £50,000 so is it any wonder there are so many shut shops in town centres.”

The business entrepreneur said the increase of rates is bound to put other businesses off from doing the same thing.

“Surely the council should be trying to help business on the high street, what with the so-called death of the high street looming, and the threats from Internet and out of town retail park shopping,” said Graham.

“Soon there will only be tumble weed on the high street.”

A Preston City Council spokesperson said: “The Government has amended the guidance on business rates so that the generation of renewable energy is now a factor to be considered in the rateable value of commercial properties.

“The Council is now required to seek relevant information from business owners to be passed on to the Government’s Valuation Office.

“The Valuation Office then make a decision on whether the rateable value of the premises should or should not increase as a result of additional income arising from generating renewable energy.”