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Gloucestershire Business News

Cavendish House owners warn of closure without rates change

The future of Cheltenham's Cavendish House has been cast into doubt with a fresh warning that House of Fraser shops could be forced to shut.

Cavendish House has been a mainstay of the Promenade since 1823 with the department store bought by the House of Fraser group in 1970.

But Frasers Group chief financial officer Chris Wootton told the company's annual general meeting shop closures would happen without reform of the business rates system.

Retail outlets have been granted a business rates payment holiday until April when bills will be based on 2015 valuations which Frasers Group say failed to account for a drop in property values.

Majority owner Mike Ashley described the system as "broken and unworkable" amid calls for the next revaluation to be brought forward from 2023.

Mr Wootton said: "We believe the Government should be working very hard to address the business rates crisis.

"We have House of Fraser stores the even though they pay zero rent, still lose money, largely because of rates.

"Unfortunately, a number of House of Fraser stores will have to close unless the Government gets on with making the business rates system fit for purpose."

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