A Bath shopkeeper has urged his local council to be more supportive of small businesses after being handed a £300 fine.
Pankaj Raichura, owner of Best One newsagent in Bath’s Broad Street, in the city centre, said that he was issued with the fine after a Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) council officer found cardboard boxes outside his shopfront before 5am.
The officer asked Raichura to produce invoices of his business’s commercial waster system within ten working days. However, according to the Bath shopkeeper, the invoices did not arrive at the council’s office in time, despite having been posted with two first class stamps.
As a result, the council gave Raichura a fixed penalty notice for £300. After he rang the council to appeal the fine, the business owner claimed that the local authority sent an enforcement officer to his shop the very next day.
Commenting on the encounter, Raichura told the Bath Chronicle: “I discussed our waste contracts with him, to which he informed me he had seen our cardboard waste outside on more than ten occasions at 5am, outside of the council’s allocated times.
“I realised there had been a miscommunication in our company, and the new cardboard waste has been left outside overnight since August. Previously, it was collected from our other address which has now stopped trading.”
The Bath shopkeeper went on to say that his issue was that the £300 fine was handed out not because of the rubbish outside his business, but because the relevant paperwork didn’t arrive with the council in time – something Raichura said was not his fault.
He added: “Out of principle, I don’t want to pay. Our business is a turnover business, where we have to sell quantities of our stock to make money. Do you know how many Mars bars I have to sell to make the £300?”
Raichura called for greater support for local business owners from local authorities following his meeting with the BANES council officer, whom he claimed “was quick to put fear into me”.
“The officer said that if I did not pay and it went to court, how would the magistrates look at this? I’ve provided BANES with the relevant paperwork, contracts and invoices to show we are appropriately dealing with our business waste [and] I would like to see more support rather than be penalised [for] such matters.”
Spokesperson Bob Goodman said that BANES council couldn’t comment on specific cases, but that a review of what happened in Raichura’s case would be made.
Goodman told the Bath Chronicle: “In order to reduce the amount of commercial waste that is left out on the street, there are allotted times during which businesses are permitted to place their waste outside their premises for collection by the waste contractor they use.
“As part of these efforts to keep our streets as clean and clear of waste as possible, our education and enforcement officers therefore work to ensure that these commercial waste times are adhered to.”
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