A Cotswold pub landlady is “gutted” and “furious” after not being able to have access to a Government grant – despite a pub in the same chain just miles away receiving it.
Becky Chanin has been tenant of Donnington Brewery’s The Plough Inn at Ford in Guiting Power for 18 years and like many venues around the county, Becky had to close the doors of the pub amid the current situation.
However the Government gave councils the power to make discretionary grants available to businesses and despite not fitting “the whole criteria” – including having a rateable value of £51,000 – put forward by Cotswold District Council, Becky was advised by the council to still apply.
Nevertheless, the pub’s application was rejected as a result of its rateable value. But another Donnington Brewery pub, The Pheasant, which is just three miles down the road with the same rateable value did receive the grant but via Tewkesbury Borough Council.
Since then, Becky has branded the decision by Cotswold District Council “diabolical” and “’absolutely disgusting”.
The business owner said: “I’m pretty gutted by their decision.”
“You feel like closing the door and walking away, I feel totally unsupported.”
She added: “I just want to cry and give up. I feel totally discriminated against on a secondary grant and them still capping it. I’m not happy. I’ve worked my butt off.”
And if that wasn’t bad enough for the business owner, she has now been informed that a road closure will be in place on a road just ahead of the pub leading to it until July 27.
Becky said: “The closure is probably about two miles going towards Tewkesbury from the Plough. They’ve closed my main road which meant I had no trade on Thursday.
“If I had the grant maybe I would have got over the road closure situation.”
As a result, Becky has put up her own signs saying that the “business is open as usual”.
Cotswold District Councillor Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance for the Cotswold District Council said: “We fully understand the disappointment of the owners of The Plough at Ford and other businesses who have not been eligible for a Government supported business grant.
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve done all we can to help businesses across the district by providing advice and support, helping them to reopen safely and distributing Government grants to many of those in need of financial support.
“Cotswold’s Discretionary Grant Scheme was established in line with clear government guidelines which we followed closely when awarding grants. One of the guidelines was that the scheme should be ‘predominantly and primarily aimed at businesses that occupy property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000’. The Plough at Ford was above this value, so we were unable to offer a grant in this particular case.
“Some councils have felt able to make payments to larger businesses but with the government setting a limit on the amount we could distribute, £1.7m in our case, we did not feel able to do so. We were clear in designing the scheme and application that this was the case.
“We are aware that some businesses have not been able to benefit from any of the three business grants schemes and we have written to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy suggesting that a scheme designed to support small businesses with rateable values over £51,000, such as the Plough, is needed and that we would be happy to help in designing and administering such a scheme.
“The council is currently holding almost £2million from the allocation by the Government for business grants that could be used to support such businesses if the government agreed.”
Gloucestershire County Council was approached for comment regarding the road closures and of the grant.