I'm being forced out
LICENCE fees for sex shops are higher in this borough than anywhere else in the country except Westminster – and it is driving people out of business. Bradley Rose has quietly run BC Books in Bennetts Castle Lane, Dagenham, for five years and has never ha
LICENCE fees for sex shops are higher in this borough than anywhere else in the country except Westminster - and it is driving people out of business.
Bradley Rose has quietly run BC Books in Bennetts Castle Lane, Dagenham, for five years and has never had any complaints from police or residents.
But now his licence for the discreet sex shop is up for renewal and Bradley claims the council are trying to drive him out of business by hiking up the fees.
Last year the fees cost him �12,300, this year however the charge is �19,000 - a substantial rise.
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Under the Local Governments Miscellaneous Provisions Act councils are supposed to charge a "reasonable" amount in fees in order to cover administrative costs.
Bradley said: "How on earth could it cost �19,000 to process a licence renewal. It doesn't make any sense.
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"I run another shop in Grays and the renewal fee there is only �3,400.
"Barking and Dagenham council are trying to drive me out of business.
"They are costing local people jobs.
"I know of another sex shop that had to close because of their unreasonable prices."
The owner of Private Shop in Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, closed the premises earlier this year.
He did not want to be named but told the POST one of the reasons he closed was due to increased licensing fees.
Bradley is so disgusted by the price hike for his licensing fee that he has vowed to take the council to court.
He said: "This is a low-income borough with low rent and house prices.
"And in this economic climate how can they honestly justify this rise?
"My wife is expecting a baby next month. It's our first and I don't want to lose my business when I'm about to become a father."
A council spokeswoman said: "We constantly compare our fees with other councils and across the board we compare very favourably.
"Nevertheless in some specialist areas such as sex shops where very few licences are issued the local circumstances mean the cost of this type of licence need to be borne by a small number of businesses to avoid a subsidy being paid by local council tax payers."
Last night, Tuesday March 31, the Licensing and Regulatory Board met to decide whether or not Bradley's licence should be renewed.
See www.bdpost.co.uk for updates.