02:32AM, Friday 13 December 2013
Councillors were already set to agree a 50 per cent discount for new retailers, when the Chancellors' autumn budget 'stole their thunder' with the announcement of a similar scheme nationally.
So at last night's meeting of the Royal Borough's cabinet Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) proposed that the authority put aside £150,000 to increase the new national discount by a further 25 per cent.
Members enthusiastically agreed the plan which will see new retailers across the borough only charged 25 per cent of the full rate for the first 18 months they are in business.
There are currently 96 empty retail sites across the borough, making up 7.8 per cent of the 1,231 available sites.
News of the plan was welcomed by Martin Miranda, who is manager if Windsor's King Edward Court
Shopping Centre as well as secretary of Windsor District Chamber of Commerce. He said: "King Edward only has one vacancy but I am very pleased and encouraged at what the council is proposing."
Mike Walker, who is chairman of Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce, said: "The devil will be in the detail and a
lot of businesses that are not retail will not benefit.
"But anything that does stimulate business is welcome - and a 75 per cent discount is better than the nought per cent that existed last week.
"I would like to think that the council now sees itself more as a partner to business, rather than 'us and them'."
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