Signs of the Times II: Hoar’s £300 “health and safety” tax

Simon Hoar: £300 a year for a sidewalk sign? Cushty!

Simon Hoar: £300 for a sidewalk sign? Cushty!

#thatissocroydon BBC London reporter Angela Walker yesterday nailed Croydon Councillor Simon Hoar over proposals to charge shop-owners and other small businesses a £300 stealth tax over five years for placing boards and banners on the pavement.

According to Hoar, looking as shifty as a latter-day Del Boy, these boards cause unwelcome clutter on our streets and create a health and safety risk. Unless, that is, the shop owners cough up 300 sovs to the council. Cushty.

Watch the BBC video here.

As well as displaying our council’s utter lack of awareness of the travails of small business, in adding yet another additional cost to their already struggling bottom line, the report also confirms the sad demise of yet another Croydon business, the Mamma Mia restaurant on St George’s Walk, doubtless another victim of Nestle’s decision to quit the borough when Hoar and his colleagues on the council failed to find a satisfactory offer to keep Croydon’s biggest private employers in south London.

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7 Responses to Signs of the Times II: Hoar’s £300 “health and safety” tax

  1. I can see that in the red pages re Cllr Fisher’s extra remuneration got a record number of readers.
    And nobody gets engaged in the Forum!

    Hoar looked aged and shifty. His justification for the board tax was preposterous.

  2. The video interview is a Croydon classic. Cllr Hoar fails to explain, given ample opportunity, how £300 solves any health and safety issue.

    I can see though that it might solve an issue of clutter. The more small businesses forced to close the fewer street signs to clutter up our streets. Perverse logic though from a council claiming to want to regenerate our town. Next it will be the already hard hit London Road traders asked not display their wares on pavements unless they pay more or perhaps those in Surrey Street Market?

    Utter nonsense.

    • ndavies144 says:

      A favourite wheeze in many areas is to fine pubs and cafes whose outdoor tables and chairs stray beyond their designated patch and/or charging them an outrageous licence fee for the privilege in the first place. Reasons given inevitably revolve around obstruction of the highway (that’s obvious in pedestrianised areas) and elf’n’safety.

      An afternoon beer in a town square watching the goings-on is one of those simple pleasures readily enjoyed on the continent; not so easy even on those rare days when the sun does shine thanks to our obstructionalist petty officialdom.

  3. derekthrower says:

    Isn’t clear how anti small business this Council is.

  4. Croydon Council is not anti small business; that would imply it knows something about small business, or business of any sort – which it does not.

    The council is desperately casting around for any pretext on which to raise money; this one happens to be flavour of the day. It would re-impose the medieval window tax if it thought it could.

    This administration senses it’s on its way out. Mike Fisher, the Arthur Daley of Croydon politics, is desperately seeking a bag of sawdust to silence the whine from his back axle; he needs an illusion that will fool enough of the people for enough of the time to tide him over the forthcoming council elections.

    So far he has had no success: watch out for future trickery.

  5. In fairness, these street signs are quite a nuisance. The busy, narrow pavements of London Road are turned into something resembling an obstacle course by the huge number of them strewn all over the place.

    • Indeed. So if that is the problem, the council should consider ways of limiting them.

      But it is not doing that: it is seeking to raise money from such pedestrian inconvenience.

      Another example of where our council’s priorities lay. Not with residents or local businesses, but in squeezing even more dough from them to help disguise the disastrous mismanagement of the borough finances over the £140 million HQ building and the misconceived CCURV scheme.

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