Exchange enjoys business rates boost
�Ilford’s shopping centre is enjoying a 20 per cent reduction in its business rates to help it compete with the rise of Westfield Stratford City.
Exchange Ilford, in High Road, already has a couple of trump cards to keep shoppers from migrating to the popular Stratford centre – its �10million revamp and the opening last week of a flagship Next store.
But centre manager Marc Myers confirmed this week the centre has also received a financial boost from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
It sets the rateable value on non-domestic properties which is used by the council to set business rates.
It gave Exchange Ilford the 20 per cent reduction, known as a material change in circumstances (MCC), in response to Westfield Stratford City opening.
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Mr Myers said: “Our business rates in 2010 went up enormously in my opinion and I think that will come back in some way now.
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“The reduction is for any retail business in an area that has been affected by another retail centre.
“They deemed there was a change in the circumstances that could affect our ability to rent. The MCC makes a place more attractive for retailers.”
A VOA spokesman said: “The agency has been proactive in reducing the rateable value of some retail properties in nearby locations following the opening of the Westfield.
“This will assist those businesses affected.”
The reduction is indefinite and can be reassessed by the VOA.
Mr Myers said in the 11 weeks since Westfield Stratford City opened, footfall at Exchange Ilford is one per cent up on the same period last year.
He said: “It shows how we are a community shopping centre.
“People will go and look at Westfield but then will look again at what’s in Ilford Town Centre also.
“It’s a different shopping experience.”