A Perth hairdresser says he may move his salon to his garden due to high charges at his city-centre shop.
Craig Simpson, owner of Craig Duncan Hair, says business rates and rising costs have forced him out of his current premises.
He plans to leave in May after five years on St John Street.
Perth hairdresser says city centre shop ‘costs too much money’
The 33-year-old also feels the council is not doing enough to encourage people to use city-centre businesses.
Craig told The Courier: “I no longer want a shop anymore because it costs too much money to run it.
“I first opened my shop 10 months before the Covid lockdown and it was booming, but since then people just don’t want to come into town.
“During the business rates relief scheme I didn’t have to pay, but now I’m £700 over 100% relief so have to pay £1,200 a year.
“I can’t afford that – there’s another salon in Perth the same size as mine that doesn’t pay rates because of their location.
“They say it’s to keep the maintenance of the street – but I never see them clean it.
“I have to pay £600 a year to the council for waste collection and all my bills have risen too.
“The council has been putting money into the art gallery but isn’t helping businesses out.
“They do good events, but they don’t help out the shops.”
‘Devastated’ owner says there will be life after St John Street
Craig says he is “devastated” to be losing the shop, but has pledged to keep the business open for his clients.
He is first planning to rent a chair in another city salon, before looking to have a salon in his back garden.
“It’s really sad as I’ve worked really hard to get this shop,” Craig added.
“It will be gutting, I remember crying when I had to shut for Covid.
“Most of my clients don’t go into town unless they’re getting their hair done and begrudge paying for parking.
“The plan is to go for a cabin in my garden but that could be a year away.
“It’ll just be me and my clients, and it’ll be a one-on-one VIP experience – nice and cosy with free parking.
“I’d also like to go into lecturing and teach at UHI.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In 2024-25, the basic property rate for non-domestic properties with a rateable value up to and including £51,000 will be frozen, delivering the lowest such rate in the UK for the sixth year in a row.
“The budget also ensures that over 95% of non-domestic properties continue to be liable for a lower property tax rate than anywhere else in the UK.”
Council anticipates ‘thousands’ of museum visitors and defends cleanliness
Perth and Kinross Council anticipates “thousands of visitors coming into the city centre” as a result of the new Perth Museum, which opens on the final weekend of March.
A spokesperson added: “We are aware that the rateable value of this property was actually reduced by the assessor in April 2023 and attracts 83% rates relief.
“We would encourage Mr Duncan to speak to our local taxes team prior to finalising any decision to close his business, as he is also entitled to further transition relief during the current financial year.
“The Perth and Kinross area also continues to rate highly for street cleanliness, above the Scottish national average in Keep Scotland Beautiful’s local environmental audit and management system.”
The closure will be a blow to St John’s Street, which currently has an occupancy rate of 16%.
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